Call for help from NDErs with Rosie Ward’s interesting PhD work

22 May

 Rosie Ward is a really talented artist, currently doing a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. I am really excited to say that she has asked me to be involved with some very interesting and important work that she is doing. It involves the use of visual and audio techniques to create experiential artworks which aim to capture the highly personal and subjective experience of a NDE. This research will inspire new artwork within her PhD and this will explore the notion of challenging the audience to question their subjective understanding of what it means to be ‘alive’. She is presently looking for participants whom have had a NDE and interested in being involved within this project.

 Within past work, ‘Breathing Space’, Rosie has created the feeling of the live presence of a little girl inhabiting the site of 16th Century Vaults located underneath Glasgow Railway station. This little girl has now become a folklore attached to the building because the audience experienced her as ‘real’ when in fact she was created purely from re-projected video and sound. Please see her website for video documentation of this work, at and also a review at


Here is also a link to Rosie’s blog:


Rosie is presently looking for participants within the UK*, who have had a NDE and would be interested in being involved within this unique project. Please do get in contact, Rosie would love to hear from you. 


*Unfortunately, at this point in time, lack of funds means that NDErs from outside the UK will have to be excluded as the project involves direct meetings with Rosie.

110 Responses to “Call for help from NDErs with Rosie Ward’s interesting PhD work”

  1. Robert Searle May 29, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    My evolving project maybe of great interest as it has some connection to out-of-body experiences, and notably with certain psychics who claim to see specific “energies”. Here, I refer to my p2pfoundation entry on Multi-Dimensional Science. Just click on the badge close by to find out more. Comments always welcome.

    • Dr Penny Sartori June 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      HI Robert, thanks for this. I’ve just briefly looked at your website. It is really interesting and I will check it out in more depth later (I’ve been snowed under with work recently). What a great resource, I’m sure many of the followers of the blog will also be interested in your work.

      • Robert Searle June 4, 2013 at 10:43 am #

        Thank you for your comment.

      • Robert Searle June 5, 2013 at 11:28 am #

        Thank you for your response.

        Yes, MDS is a huge subject, but data gathering of people who may see “auras”, “subtle bodies”, “psychic rays”, et al has yet to be fully undertaken.

        Moreover, the manifestation of such “phenomena” from a theoretical point of view may vary in certain respects because there are probably sub-planes, or levels of conciousness, or “worlds” which certain psychics maybe able to reach. In other words, what is experienced is dependent on what reality, or Altered State(s) of Conciousness one is able to attain. Furthermore, there are many little-known esoteric traditions outside the “mainstream” New Age Movement which could give us vital clues as to the workings of specific mystical, and psychical phenomena.

      • Dr Penny Sartori June 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

        HI Robert, thanks for your comment. Yes I agree there is still so much work in this area to be undertaken.

  2. Vivek narain July 20, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Nde is not a parlour game if its true.knowing about higher realm does not mean that we have to make the borderline a playground for idle curiosity seekers.the knowledge may be a guiding light of the journey of life but not a tourist destination.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Hi Vivek, I absolutely agree – NDE is not a parlour game. I think you have misunderstood the purpose of Rosie’s work. Such a sacred and numinous experience can often leave the experiencer at a total loss about how to understand their experience and how to integrate the experience into their life. There can be such profound life changes for the experiencer that relationships with loved ones can become very strained.

      Rosie’s work is a means to understand their experience from a different perspective and offers a means of expression that is meaningful to the experiencer. There is huge potential therapeutic value in Rosie’s work for both the experiencers of NDEs and also their loved ones who are trying to come to terms with the life changes of the NDEr. In fact, Rosie is working with someone at present who has been greatly helped by her work.

      • Vivek narain July 22, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

        Hi Penny, i never meant any rebuff, on the contrary i wish to know the truth,but your explanation confounds me.nde has more to do with millions of people who have seen early deaths of their near ones than with the actual nde experiencers,infact people feel grateful for their expositions and logically they will be at great ease if the veracity is proven to some extent.i think the key of this lies in obe,but you’ve to be subjective in verifying the fact to your own conviction,you will have to let go the rigorous ridicule proof procedure let the world know it if you are convinced.

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 23, 2013 at 9:20 am #

        Hi Vivek, ah I see what you mean. Yes, NDE accounts do help the people who are left behind after the death of a loved one. In fact, my NDE research has given me great strength when caring for my own dying relatives.

        There was one OBE case in my research (Patient 10) that has been published. He described an OBE that was very accurate and occurred while he was deeply unconscious. I know that what he reported was accurate because I was actually the nurse who was there looking after him at the time. I tried to examine this from all possible aspects to find a possible explanation as to how he could have picked up this information. I couldn’t find one explanation that adequately explained this case yet I know that what he reported was correct. I found that quite convincing to be honest.

        Sometimes we are so busy trying to find explanations for NDEs that we miss the very important message that they have. NDEs are a fascinating subject to study and have really opened my eyes and made me open my mind.

  3. tekotek July 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Hi Penny,

    I was reading the book entitled “Irreducible Mind” where I found the following passage

    “Cardiac arrest is physiological brutal event. Cerebral functioning shuts down within a few seconds. Whether the heart actually stops beating entirely or goes into a ventricular fibrillation, the result is essentially instantaneous circulatory arrest, with blood flow and oxygen uptake in the brain plunging swiftly to near-zero levels. EEG signs of cerebral ischemia, typically with global slowing and loss of fast activity, are visually detectable within 6-10 seconds, and progress to isoelectricity (flat-line EEGs) within 10-20 seconds of the onset of arrest. In sum, full arrest leads rapidly to establishment of three major clinical signs of death – absence of cardiac output, absence of respiration, and absence of brainstem reflexes – and provides the best model we have for dying process. Nevertheless in five published studies alone, over 100 cases of NDEs occurring under conditions of cardiac arrest have been reported.”

    I have a question about EEG curve please

    Recently I was watching a youtube video where M. D. Lakhmir S. Chawla talks about an EEG curve. He confirms that when a patient dies the EEG curve goes down to 0, so there seems to be an absence of brainstem reflexes, just as is mentioned in the paragraph above, but then unexpectedly after a certain period of time a sudden spike is observed that lasts for about 2-3 minutes. This 2 minutes spike corresponds to a search in brain activity and Lakhmir S. Chawla says:

    “…The level of spikes that we see are comparable to a person who is wide awake and talking….how amazing this is to be sitting at the bedside looking at the patient who is effectively dead who has EEG monitor at a level of someone who is awake, alert, interactive with you. This is a very striking finding….the timeline for the spike is that it almost always occurs as the person blood pressure goes to 0……. We speculate that for some patients who are resuscitated and recall this event that this could form quote and quote their Near Death Experiences….so there might be some physiological basis for Near Death Experiences as not something that they have just imagined”

    So according to Lakhmir S. Chawla brainstem reflexes do not appear completely absent.….I was wondering what your view on this 2 minutes spike is please. Could this be a physiological explanation for Near Death Experiences?

    The video is 45 minutes long but if you just skip the first 29 minutes and then watch for just 3 minutes you’ll see the bit that I am referring to. Here is the link to it

    Thank you very much

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

      Hi Tekotek, you ask a really interesting and important question. Irreducible Mind is a great book. Dr Chawla’s work is very important and is a welcome addition to help further our understanding of NDEs. In fact Dr Parnia has referred to this briefly in Erasing Death and (if my memory serves me correctly) he stated that this spike in the EEG could be due to a number of physiological responses such as release of calcium from the cells at the point of death. It is impossible to verify if this surge has anything to do with the NDE as the patients do not revive but this work is certainly something to keep in mind.

  4. Vivek narain July 22, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    Communication with the higher realm is mostly one way. Individuals don’t matter what’s important is to know the truth of existentialism.a computer can not ask its operator for hardware upgrade,software upgrade is possible and easy thru cloud computing,likewise humans can acquire universal conciousness.any instrumental detection or reaching the spirit realm is bound to fail,it needs attitude to become subtle and receptive.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 22, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      Hi Vivek, thank you for this comment.

      • Vivek narain July 23, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

        Hi penny, seems you reply to all the comments,you’ve created a retrocausality of glimpsing beyond the curtain,if you maintain your composure you will experience bouts of acausal events to further your work.proper attitude is very important to keep steady progress.

      • Dr Penny Sartori July 30, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

        Hi Vivek, yes I reply to all of my comments but sometimes it takes a while as I’ve been so busy lately. Thanks for this, I’ll keep it in mind.

  5. tekotek July 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    Thank you very much Penny for your reply.

    I just thought that this 2 minutes spike could be to do with an agony as in this video Cardiac Surgeon Lloyd Rudy (if you just skip 5 minutes and listen for 1 minute) says “…..the patient was gone for 20 minutes….all of a sudden…we saw some electrical activity…..we thought that’s a kind of an agony thing and we see that occasionally that the heart we’ll continue beating even though the patient can’t generate the blood pressure or pump any blood…”

    So could it be some sort final spasms or convulsion of the dead body

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 23, 2013 at 8:44 am #

      Hi, thanks for posting this. I think what Dr Lloyd Rudy was referring to was agonal breathing – this occurs during cardiac arrest when the heart has stopped beating. Its almost like a last ditch attempt of the brain to get oxygen.

      I don’t think the NDE is due to a final spasm but all of these explanations should be considered when we are trying to understand consciousness and NDEs. It is such a complex phenomenon.

  6. tekotek July 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    and I got this reply from Jeffrey Long

    The Chawla article is one of the dumber “explanations” of NDE to be published in recent times. First of all, the quote from this doctor about NDE suggests to me that he doesn’t know NDE well. Secondly, I suspect they tried to publish this in Neurology-type journals, and it would have been rejected on the grounds that EEG findings of brain depolarization immediately prior to death can’t explain lucid and consistent memories. Most NDErs are not that close to death during their NDEs- their simply unconscious. The brain would not be in a terminal depolarization event. The fallacy of this article is the same as many other skeptic arguments- they become aware of a physiological/chemical/biological event that occurs near death, and desperately try to extrapolate that to what is observed in NDEs. None of these skeptical explanations account for the lucidity of NDE, the reality of OBE observations, NDEs in the blind, and especially typical NDEs under general anesthesia, just to name a few things observed in NDEs that EEG spikes near death could not possibly explain.

  7. tekotek July 24, 2013 at 10:51 pm #

    I also asked Pim an Lommel and he said:

    I know the original article by Chalwa about the postmortal spikes, not in an EEG, but in a very limited registraion of possible cerebral activities, and possibly mixed with muscle activities.

    The NDE, with OBE, can sometimes last for minutes, and sometimes starts quite late during CPR, like the case of the dentures as described by us in the Lancet article, and this case was corroborated by nurses and doctors.

    For me there is still no physiological explanation for NDEs, and we also know that any registered neurological activity is only a correlation (NCC), which means that it does not explain us anything about the cause nor content of consciousness. See also my book, where I have written in many more details about the brain, and about what happens in the brain when the heart stops during cardiac arrest.

  8. tekotek July 24, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    Hi Penny, I was studying the other day your most interesting case about the patient who experienced the unexplained healing of his right hand. There is one bit that I am confused about

    The patient recalls:

    “….It was unusual; I went up. … It was so painless; there was no pain. … I was so happy. … I was enjoying myself. But looking back, I could see other patients as well below me. That’s what I couldn’t figure out: I could see everybody. I was happy, no pain at all, until I felt somebody going to my eye. I looked back and I could see my bed, my body in the bed. I could see everything that was happening on the floor. I saw doctors when I was up there; I was looking down and could see the doctors and even the sister, what she was actually doing in the ward. It was marvellous. I could see nurses around me and the doctors. I was still going up in the air and I could feel somebody going like this to my eye. [He raised his finger up to his eye.] I eventually looked back and I could see one of the doctors pulling my eye, what for I didn’t know. One doctor was saying: ‘‘There’s life in the eye.’’…..”

    Notice that the patient says “…until I felt somebody going to my eye…” and then the second time he says “…I could feel somebody going like this to my eye [He raised his finger up to his eye.]…”

    So twice the patient indicates that he “felt” rather than “saw”. Does it mean that he experienced a physical-body sensation? But if his consciousness was floating up on the ceiling how could he possibly “feel” his eye? Was his consciousness still in the body? How could he simultaneously be on the ceiling and in his body? I am just confused

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 30, 2013 at 12:32 pm #

      Hi Maria, you have raised an excellent point here. Yes, it seems that the patient felt the doctor touch his eye and felt the physical sensation of it. That is the ultimate question really – how could he feel with his body yet described that his consciousness was up near the ceiling? I don’t have the answer to this.

      I must add that the patient’s brain had not flat lined at all during his experience, he was just deeply unconscious. I think the more cases like this that are investigated as part of a research project the more our understanding of these experiences will develop.

  9. Afterlifer July 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    Some time ago I read a very interesting article about nde and end of life brain activity

    Click to access NDEAndEndOfLifeEEGSurges.pdf

    I think it’s written by Robert Mays (I’m not sure if he’s a physician, but his words are really smart)

  10. Philip Green July 28, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Hi Penny and all

    This is off topic but here is a link to a video concerning the 12 digit number seen
    during an OBE.

    This was brought up by in a January post. I don’t know if anyone
    has seen this.


    • Dr Penny Sartori July 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Hi Philip, thank you for this. What an interesting case. It would be really great to see this case written up.

  11. Lee July 30, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Hi Dr, Sartori,
    I wonder if you have any comments on this Belgian NDE study (if you have already commented on this please forgive me):

    Thank you.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

      Hi Lee, I think the study is interesting but it doesn’t explain how some people can gain knowledge in ways than other than through the senses during their NDE. For example, Patient 11 in my study met a dead relative who gave a message for a living relative. When he revived and gave the message to his living relative she was absolutely amazed that he could know that information.

      The same too with the fascinating case of Rajaa Benamour from Morocco, who I met at the Marseille conference in March this year. She gained an in depth knowledge of quantum physics (that she had never studied before) and has gone on to study it at university level. Her university Professor stated in an interview broadcast during the conference that her level of knowledge simply can’t be aquired from just reading lots of books. He also stated that not even he understood some things that Rajaa had written about but that they had later been confirmed by papers that had been subsequently published in physics journals.

      I don’t see how a hallucination could provide such in depth knowledge, especially as these people’s brains are undergoing severe physiological insult at the time of the experience.

      • Lee August 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

        Thank you Dr. Sartori, fascinating accounts.It would be interesting to pose such cases to researchers of the Belgian and other such studies where they come away with materialist explanations for the phenomenon.

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 5, 2013 at 11:41 am #

        Hi Lee, yes I think it would be really helpful to work together with other researchers such as the Belgian team because both sides of the debate have good points and I think it’s about making sense of those points and progressing to the next level of our understanding of consciousness.

  12. tekotek July 30, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    Thank you very much Penny. I guess it’s similar to Yvonne Kason’s case. She had a plane crash over a lake and was swimming to the shore in freezing water and then suddenly she found herself up above in a brilliant light. She says she was still swimming down below yet her consciousness was up above and it was kind of simultaneous.

    But the weirdest NDE is this one. No NDE is weirder than this one.

    • Dr Penny Sartori July 30, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

      Hi Maria, yes it is very similar in that respect to Dr Yvonne Kason’s case.

      Thanks for the link to the other case. Yes, I agree it is a fascinating case. Max commented on it a few weeks ago – you may find his comments helpful.

  13. Vivek narain July 31, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    Hi penny, its more than a century since sir willium barret set the ball rolling on nde,a very eminent pair sir william and lady william,did all the questions and answers on the profound phenomena.yet physics is theorising its convincing concepts like multiverse and alternate timelines,a person dying in one reality is very much alive in another,does it queer the pitch for nde or the nde researchers shun such concepts as heresy. Flippantly, vivek

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 5, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      HI Vivek, yes Sir William Barrett’s work on deathbed visions is very important. When I worked as a nurse I frequently observed patients talking with deceased relatives shortly before they died. I think physics is making some intersting discoveries too. As NDE researchers we have to be mindful of previous work as well as new discoveries that are being made.

  14. tim August 2, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Very interesting posts from all. The “denture man” investigated by Rudolf H Smit and Titus Rivas reported information from two different sources during his OBE/NDE. When he reported seeing his dentures being removed he was clinically dead.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 5, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      HI Tim, thanks for that. Titus Rivas and Rudolf Smit have a book coming out in Dutch soon. It would be good to see it translated into English too, I’d be very interested to read it.

      • tim August 9, 2013 at 11:58 am #

        Hi, Penny It certainly would I would like to read it, too. BTW Sam seems to have toned down some of his previous comments on consciousness at least over here, I guess it’s too early and too big a jump for the status quo. However his comments on recent interviews elsewhere were very significant.

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

        Hi Tim, I haven’t read any recent comments but maybe its best to be cautious.

    • Stuart August 5, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

      what were the two sources tim?

  15. Iris August 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

    I have just found the “12-digit-number-case” here. Will this remain an anecdote or is further research being carried out? It sounds so good but what strikes me is how realistic it is to remember such a long number (I certainly can’t)?

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

      Hi Iris, thanks for this – you didn’t put a link to the case.

  16. Vivek narain August 6, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Hi penny, Since you are blogging and hence getting useful feedback that none of the pioneers of nde research could avail,i hope you do some introspection.I will be grateful if you answer a couple of questions that have baffled me. [1] do we have to lean on nde or get prompted by it to experience unconditional love,peace,benevolent god.Many nde experiencers say their life has changed and they have become loving and caring,ought not these qualities be an essential part of life for a person nde or no nde? [2] In what way can we interpret an nde to solve the enigma of existentialism?. Thanks anyway for meditating on my queries.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

      Hi Vivek, yes the comments I get on the blog have been very important and valuable and have really helped me to think about the way I continue with avenues of pursuit with regards to further study of NDEs and consciousness.

      In response to point [1] this is a good point. In fact, my forthcoming book touches on this. I think the NDE’s message of unconditional love and peace is so important yet it seems that the way in which modern socitey has developed has disconnected from this way of life. Many people are so busy and stressed and live quite fearfully and so we give little time for introspection and devoting time to spiritual practice such as meditation.

      Mmm..I’m not so sure about [2], I’ll have to think some more about this.

  17. Vortex August 7, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Dr. Satori, in a recent discussion on Skeptiko podcast forum one of forum members, Linda (fls), mentioned an apparent contradiction in one of the veridical NDE accounts described in your papers:

    I would be grateful if you give us your explanation of this contradiction!

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

      Hi Vortex,

      Thank you for drawing my attention to this comment; I was unaware of it until I read your query.

      Indeed Linda does make very good points and I am impressed with the way in which the case has been scrutinised. I had to go back and re-read this (it did happen over 13 years ago).

      As I stated in this paper, the text had combined more than one interview as there was no space to include the full lengthy interviews. Prior to conducting the full interviews the patient had already spontaneously reported that the consultant had been present as opposed to the doctors he had seen prior to losing consciousness by pointing to the consultant. This was done when the ward round consisting of several doctors, nurses and physiotherapists approached his bed area when he had regained full consciousness.

      It is correct that I did say that this doctor was the consultant during the interview – this was to clarify for the patient (I was not identifying which doctor it was just the fact that he was a consultant and not a junior doctor) because consultants aren’t as familiar faces as the other doctors because they are not in the clinical area as frequently as the more junior doctors. I also mentioned that the consultant had shone a torch in his eyes but the patient did not report seeing the doctor shine a torch in his eyes. I also told the patient the precise words that the doctor had used but the patient did not report what he said accurately. The patient was unsure exactly what the doctor had said and thought it was ‘something about my eye, life there…’ whereas in fact the consultant had actually said ‘Yes, they are reacting but unequal’.

      I had previously asked the patient if he recalled hearing anything, while in this state, prior to telling the patient what the consultant had said so the comment I had made was for the purpose of clarity. If you can try to imagine being the patient, it is a totally transcendent experience and trying to make sense of it can be overwhelming. Most people have lots of questions about the actual events as well as about their experience. Reading transcribed interviews does not convey time delays between questions and answers nor the body language and non verbal expressions of the patients; most patients are full of questions and can be quite dumbfounded by the whole event.

      However, having read the comments on the forum I can totally understand how it could be perceived that I had ‘fed’ the information. This just highlights how precise the reporting has to be and how important it is to make notes at the time of such events. Having had the benefit of reading Linda’s comment I now realise I should have stipulated that the patient had already identified which doctor had examined him.

      Further in the comment Linda correctly points out my statement ‘the patient correctly identified the consultant as having shone the light in his eyes, rather than one of the junior doctors with whom he was familiar’. This is another excellent observation on Linda’s behalf. In retrospect, I should have worded that differently, I should have worded it as ‘the consultant as having touched his eye’ because as Linda pointed out the patient did not report the consultant as shining a torch in his eye he merely referred to him as touching his eye.

      As this shows, undertaking research of this kind is really tricky and extremely hard work. Not only is the thorough documenting of the events of importance and how the interview was conducted but also the way the whole case is written up and presented. I tried to present the cases as clearly as I could and examine all possibilities. It is one of the most thoroughly documented and detailed cases of OBE /NDEs that has been published and it was presented in such detail so as to try to find all possible explanations.

      Linda’s comments are most welcome and they are certainly something I will take into account for future research (although I doubt I’ll do anymore to the intensity of the prospective study!) and I hope it is something that future researchers will also take on board. This was one of the first prospective studies to be undertaken so it is important that future research can develop and improve on this.

      N.B. – I just want to mention that in the comment you referred to it mentions that the patient was resuscitated – this was incorrect. He was deeply unconscious but his heart had not stopped and he was not resuscitated.

      • Vortex August 23, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

        Thank you for such a detailed reply, Dr. Satori!

        Please accept my apologies for not replying for so long. I faced some personal life problems exactly after I asked you a question here, and simply forgot to read your answer. Now I will demonstrate it to the other Skeptiko forum members – they would be as grateful as me to see it!

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 29, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

        Hi Vortex, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry to hear you have had personal problems, I hope they are all resolved now.

  18. Stuart August 10, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    Hi Penny,

    Just wondering what you make of this?

    Also read about Shared Death Experinces by Raymond Moody. What do you make of those also and did you ever come across any as for me they make the NDE a more objective reality still.



    • Stuart August 10, 2013 at 12:16 am #

      however this seems similar to research by Lakhmir Chawla. in addition one could argue that some OBE items are identified when the EEG is flat anyhow indicating no electrical surge at that time. All very much in the air.

      finally it seems that Sam Parnias AWARE study will bring some finding in November as well which suggest a paradigm shift of sorts:

      thanks again


      • Stuart August 10, 2013 at 12:41 am #

        Finally, it also raises the question for me to what i think it a possibly that NDEs etc are brought upon between a combination of factors from those that lie within the brain and that of a consciousness that lies separate and beyond to the brain


      • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

        Hi Stuart, you have a good point there. I think there are physiological correlations to experiencing and recalling certain states of consciousness.

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

        Hi Stuart, thanks for this link too – I can’t open it. It will be interesting to read Dr Parnia’s findings in November.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Stuart, thanks for this. The previous comments answer this really. It is impossible to know if the electrical discharges in the brain are anything to do with NDEs, they could just be the release of calcium from the cells. This kind of activity does not explain how people gain information during their NDE or how some people believe they have been healed during their NDE.

      I’ve come across a few shared death experiences and have a few cases in my forthcoming book. A physiological explanation is insufficient for shared death experiences because the people at the bedisde who share the experience are not close to death or physiologically compromised.

      • Stuart August 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

        Did you come across any cases where someone had an NDE and came back while another person beside them had a shared death experience (SDEs) or is there any records of this at all by any researcher as difficult to find items on web about it. I find if you look at NDEs, SDEs and Deathbed visions as an integrated whole it very interesting. I read that some authors best described an NDE as a sudden thrust into that state of consciousness and a deathbed vision as a slow transition to it.

        The link to Parnia Spiegel article should be the first listed here also as the top feature.

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

        Hi Stuart, thanks for the link, it was a very interesting article and video. I think Dr Parnia’s work has been extremely important to the advancement of resuscitation methods.

        I’ve never come across anyone who had an NDE while someone else also had a shared death experience – that would be an extremely interesting case. If there are any such cases I would love to hear about them. Yes, I would agree that the NDE is more a sudden thrust into an altered state of cosnciousness whereas deathbed visions are a more gentle ease into such an experience. Consciousness is really fascinating to study.

    • Stuart August 13, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

      Hi Penny,

      There does seem to be a lot of media hype about the above study. One thing I think that may be glossed over is when someone has a NDE, there are occasions when the EEG flatlines. Now one of the researchers states why in their study it rises to a state of hyper-activtity but does not in other research on humans is because in their studies the EEG monitors only from their scalp, whereas this rat study burrows the monitors onto the rat brain tissue itself from what I can read and therefore gives a more through reading. However, and I do not know if this issue was addressed or not by the researchers, but if a human brain under normal circumstance gives a normal EEG reading therefore if the brain is more active then usual in a NDE surely it would give a greater more intense EEG reading?


      • Dr Penny Sartori August 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

        HI Stuart, you make a good point and indeed if the rats brains were monitored via the tissues as opposed to the EEG electrodes then this should give a more thorough reading. Even if we assume rats consciousness to be the same as human consciousness then this still only gives a partial explanation for the possible correlates of the visual aspect of NDEs. Check out the comment that I’ve just posted in reply to Lee.

  19. tim August 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Interesting to read the comments from Linda FLS from the skeptiko forum. Linda is a debunker who professes to be a medical doctor. She may be of course but I do wonder how she finds the time to do any doctoring when she spends all her time making inscrutable circular reasoned comments about anything that pertains to consciousness research.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 12, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      Hi Tim, thanks for this. I don’t have time to check out forums and discussion groups so your comment is helpful.

  20. Vivek narain August 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Hi penny, i strongly believe that we have to move beyond the bitter acrimony over the veridicality of nde and get to the intrinsic message.physiology and anatomy is more of an enigma than spirit realm or quantum entanglement.nde being a highly subjective phenomena begs for a subtle understanding.philosophy of oscar wilde or the philosophy of wolf larsen(protagonist in ‘the sea wolf’ by jack london)quoting ecclesiastes belong to the world of literature,though they portray reality but the sweeping generalization is a literary compulsion,likewise it is very much tempting for nde researches to work towards vain glory.If any nde researcher gets tempted to manipulate, it will be a very unyielding manouvre because a genuine worker should be in fact fully aware of the veracity.What remains is, to convey in passionate genuineness the underlying message for hapless mortals.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Vivek, one of the things that I have come to realise over the past few years is how important the message of the NDE is. It is important to investigate NDEs from all aspects but sometimes this can detract from what the NDErs are actually showing us. My forthcoming book is called The Wisdom of NDEs and it discusses how the message of the NDE can be of great help to how we live our lives.

  21. tim August 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    I’m really looking forward to your new book, Penny. Loved the first one, it was fascinating and so original in it’s format/ presentation I couldn’t put it down. A medical professional’s first hand experience is always best.

    As regards Veridicality in OBE’s (Vivek) this is the only (rightly of wrongly) aspect of NDE’s that will convince the sceptics.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Hi Tim, thank you for your nice comments. My forthcoming book will give an overview of NDEs from many different perspectives and gives many examples from people who have contacted me over the years. I have so many fascinating cases that it was really difficult deciding which ones to include. It also summarises my hospital research and focusses on what we can learn form NDEs.

      Your point about the OBE is very true.

  22. Lee August 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Hi Penny,
    New NDE study out today. Hoping you can comment on this as to me it looks like it proves the brain continues with activities after the hear stops so perhaps NDEs are nothing “supernatural” after all?

    Thanks for your thoughts,

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      HI Lee, thanks for this. It is interesting research but doesn’t prove anything regarding NDEs. It is uncertain if the conscious perception of rats is anything like that of humans. NDEs are so highly complex that even if this were correlated with human consciousness it still only partially explains one tiny aspect of the NDE. NDEs can also occur in the absence of cardiac arrest so these electrical surges may not even occur in NDEs experienced in the absence of cardiac arrest.

      This research cannot account for how some people gain knowledge which they weren’t previously aware of such as the case of Patient 11 in my research, or Rajaa Benamour the lady I met at the conference in Marseille who gained a sudden understanding of quantum physics.

      There is a very interesting Podcast on the BBC Radio 4 website. Checkout the Thought of the Day podcast on August 14th by Akhandadhi Das a Vaishnav Hindu teacher, he makes a very interesting point too.

    • tim August 17, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

      Hi, Lee,
      It doesn’t matter about the surge in EEG activity in rats etc whether or not you are open to survival (or separating consciousness) or not. The

      ongoing Aware study will tell us roughly who is correct.

  23. A August 17, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Would you happen to know if well known researchers have actually face to face verified with members of rescue teams many (any) veridical NDErs’ claims of what was witnessed during cardiac arrest? I know Dr Lloyd Rudy talked about one patient of his. Just wondering if there are other verified accounts (not Pam Reynolds). They seem to be the most convincing evidence short of a doubleblind study. Has Dr Sam Parnia done this verification? Is this why he appears to believe in the continuation of life after physical death? Thanks for any help

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 18, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      Hi A, Dr Pim van Lommel who published his NDE research in The Lancet in 2001 had a case of a patient who reported seeing the nurse (from an out of body persepctive) remove his dentures and place them on a cart during the time he was in cardiac arrest. This was investigated by Dr van Lommel who verified it with the nurse.

      I have also investigated the cases of patients who had a cardiac arrest and I have the very interesting case of Patient 10 who reported an OBE and accurately described events occuring at the time he was deeply unconscious (Patient 10 had not had a cardiac arrest). I was actually present during the time he had his NDE and OBE and when he fully regained consciousness he reported his experience which I knew was accurate as I was there at the time.

      The AWARE study (which is headed by Dr Parnia) is carrying out the same research. This will verify if any OBE reports are accurate by interviewing the staff present at the time. Cardiac arrests are very unpredictable so gathering the data (I estimate in regards to having already undertaken my own study) will probably take a long time but is well worth persevering with.

  24. Vivek narain August 17, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    Hi penny, repeating my idea again and again may sound like eccentricity,but emphasis on the feelings of nde experiencers should be the goal of any researcher,more so if the feelings follow a pattern.It hardly matters whether the duality is indicated or not,it can be a worthwhile adventure for you if you write another book based on the feelings of nders without referring to the subject of nde,you can get the book published in metaphysics genre.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 18, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      Hi Vivek, I agree with you that the feelings of NDErs are really important. My particular angle has been to investigate NDEs from a broader perspective but I agree it would be very interesting to investigate the feeling aspect in more depth. Maybe this could be my next project.

  25. Kinseher Richard August 18, 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    dying rats with strong brain activity
    Hi Penny – you were right, these effect have nothing to do with NDEs: similar brain activity was already reported in other studies and is now discussed as migraine phenomenon.
    more information:

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

      Hi Richard, thanks for this link it is very helpful.

    • Max_B August 20, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

      I had a bit of a back’n’forth with Markus Dahlem in the comments section on the Ed Yong’s ‘Phenomena’ blog, which I really enjoyed. It’s also good article about the study, that gives some more background about the motivation of the team etc…

      I got the impression that Marcus felt the need to put to bed any ideas that this research offered support to theories about ‘Dualism’, I guess it’s an issue he feels strongly about.

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

        Hi Max, thanks for this link. I just had a quick read of the comments between you and Markus – very in depth and very, very interesting. I’ll re-read them again for them to sink in properly! I’m sure the followers of the blog will also be really interested in this.

  26. Andre August 19, 2013 at 9:39 am #

    I want to link 4 links to the discussion.
    It was and is highly controversial if quantum law can be applied to living organisms.
    The first 3 links i do provide are an example of quantum physics used by Plants.

    Further there are many attemps to apply quantum entaglements and quantum computing to the human/brain and conciousness.

    First there is the highly controversal theory of penrose/hammerhof.

    The newest and most promising model is made by Henry P. Stapp
    Ther is an interesting articel from the cern scientists about this model.

    Click to access stapp.pdf

    Most critques state that quantum entaglement (fröhlich bridge) is not possible in living organsims. That is why i linked latest findings on photosynthesis.

    Be aware that quantum biology is still at it’s start and all the models need more research.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 19, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Hi Andre, thank you for these links. These all look very interesting and I will check them out as soon as I can. I’m sure many followers of the blog will also be interested. This is very helpful.

  27. Vivek narain August 23, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    Hi Penny, this discussion is getting quite vivisective.The borjigin finding of the possible cause of nde as well as penrose’s explaination of obe should not be taken as a duel between dualists and materialists.nde is an abbreviation for near death experience, and not for, afterlife experience.Existentialism is more of a dilemma than any other factor in human life,nde being spontaneous and involuntary can give a clue to solving this dilemma.Dualism may or may not be inferred, and its totally insiginificant whether the dualism is negated or vindicated.We as yet don’t know how anatomy developed from cosmic particles i.e quarks or neutrons or protons & electrons.If we get nearer to solving the existentialism through the analysis of nde, it will be a triumph of mankind.

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 29, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

      Hi Vivek, thanks for the comments. Yes, it is getting to be quite a complex discussion. I haven’t had much time to think too much about this to be honest. I agree that NDEs are not afterlife experiences.

      • Stuart August 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

        Do you think Penny that NDEs potential indicators of an afterlife or that of the mind is an entity that can exist separate or perhaps both?

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 2, 2013 at 10:50 am #

        Hi Stuart, I think NDEs are an indicator that that consciousness is eternal and always present but we are not aware of it because our brains screen it out. During an NDE the brain is dysfunctional and is not able to screen it out therefore this heightened state of consciousness is experienced while still in the body. We won’t know exactly what happens after death until we experience it fully at our own death.

      • Max_B September 2, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

        I suppose I’m really not too far away from you Penny. I just think this ‘eternal and ever-present consciousness’ you mention is generated from all life-forms.

        If our brains are acting in a feedback loop, with EEG activity (high-power neurons firing) creating a calculating field which acts a bit like a magnifying/focusing lens (filter if you like), that is ‘read’ back by and controls a more passive low-power ‘reading’ mechanism (micro-tubules?), which adjusts the next wave of neurons firing… and so on in a feedback loop.

        This ‘field’ based focusing lens would narrow conscious perception right down by strictly controlling the ‘reading’ mechanism. If the ‘field’ failed, or was suppressed, became weakened or dysfunctional etc., the low-power more passive ‘reading’ mechanism would still continue to ‘read’ external fields. But without the focusing lens in operation, it would be unable to exert any control over what it was ‘reading’ and would pick up loads of external field noise. That it is able it interpret this external noise, implies that the ‘reading’ mechanism is extremely powerful, and considering the wide range of reported experiences, probably transcends our everyday notions of time/space… but it lacks control.

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 3, 2013 at 7:46 am #

        Hi Max, yes what you say certainly makes sense to me so it would be good to develop this theory further and explore it in more depth.

      • Stuart September 3, 2013 at 7:18 am #

        Thanks Penny, I suppose words like consciousness and afterlife can be subjective in semantics to individual people. Also saw a few weeks back this on amazon. It must take a long while to get a book through the publishing system as it looks like the book is all but ready:


      • Dr Penny Sartori September 3, 2013 at 8:06 am #

        Hi Stuart, yes you are quite right.

        My book is currently being printed and will be out in February 2014, the Amazon link is to my book but there seems to be a slight error because it is Dr Pim Van Lommel who has written the foreword. Yes, its taken quite some time to get into print considering I actually completed the book back in 2011.

        I will be posting more details of the book in the coming weeks and also the book cover.

    • Max_B August 29, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      Where did Penrose explain the OBE?

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 2, 2013 at 10:50 am #

        Hi Max, I’m not sure to be honest.

      • Andre September 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

        It seems with my bad english some people misinterpreted my post from above.

        Penrose, Hamerhoff and Stapp are scientists in the field of anesthetics and quantum physics. They state that the mind is a dual computer a quantum and a neuronal one.

        With these theories it is possible to explain mind time and free will.

        I once again like to note that penrose/hamerhoff’s model is quite controversal. I still recommend stapp who solves the problem of quantum wave collapse.

        Stapp introduces a quantum Zeno effect which tries to explain gringer effect of quantum wave collapse. Each collapse of quantum waves is a conciouss event.

        It is a perfect example of mind time. The quantum effect takes place but waits for the brain to create the desired state. (Free will?)
        You move your arm before your brain decides to move it.

        A lot of people correlate these new quantum models with the idea of none local conciousness as they open new possibilities.
        The theories themself can not make any statements of conciousness beside that it is a unified conciousness instead of a split one and that a decision is amde before our neironal brain decides to act.

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 3, 2013 at 7:44 am #

        Hi Andre, thanks for this comment. That is really interesting to me, I will look up Stapp’s work as I don’t know much about it. When you mentioned the bit about the arm moving before we decide to move it, it reminded me of Benjamin Libet’s work who found similar responses in research he undertook in the 1980’S (I think it was the 80’s).

  28. Afterlifer August 26, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    Are there any official comments about rat’s end of life brain activity from Van Lommel, Fenwick, Parnia, Hameroff and so on? I’m searching for something more than “rats cannot tell us if they had an NDE”, but unluckily it seems that nder’s are a little too silent after these results have been published. It’s really sad to see on newspapers such titles as “nde’s explained away”

    • Dr Penny Sartori August 29, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

      Hi Afterlifer, I haven’t come across any comments from Van Lommel, Fenwick etc but it seems that the article didn’t really prove anything.

  29. André August 29, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    That article is no proof at all.
    People who experience an OBE /NDE are reporting emotions and sensual impression.
    Both of these should have it’s origin within the cortex of the brain.

    A reaction from brain cells in deeper areas of the brain should not explain any sensual impressions of people who are blind since birth or any feelings.

    If the cortex shuts down you might be “alive” in some form but without any senses any emotions and any interpretion. Your brain might store data but can not interpret this data.

    This rat data would be to simple 🙂 We should stop using science which is outdated since 1930 to explain a human brain . It is far to complex, as is the universe 🙂

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 2, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Hi Andre, thank you for this helpful comment. I agree that the article is no proof.

      • Andre September 3, 2013 at 8:46 am #

        Yes Stapp and penrose have two different approaches to explain Benjamin libets research on delayed neuronal signals.

        Also they come very close to what Max stated earlier.

        “..This ‘field’ based focusing lens would narrow conscious perception right down by strictly controlling the ‘reading’ mechanism…

        …That it is able it interpret this external noise, imp…….”

        In all these theories the brain is working as an interpreter of the system and the cause and needs to create a certain state to be able to do the interpreters work. Quantum effects are not deterministic (not predictable).

        A note at the end my personal feelings about conciousness

        ” I personally would be very sad if people like astrid lindgren and her ideas are not stored in some kind of universal field. It would be sad not only for mankind but the universe.”

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 3, 2013 at 8:51 am #

        Thanks for this Andre, you’ve given me a lot to think about. I have a lot of reading ahead of me! Yes, I like your personal feelings about consciousness. Indeed it would be sad for mankind and the universe.

    • Afterlifer September 3, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      If I remember well, researchers told that animals had even more enhanced conscious activity than in normal awaken situation. It’s not just a reaction from brain cells in deeper areas of the brain.Are you sure that brain cortex wasn’t involved?

      • Dr Penny Sartori September 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

        Hi Afterlifer, I’ll let Andre answer this as it is addressed to him.

  30. Andre September 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Unfortunetly my data on the rat experiment is quite limited but we do have a hughe amount of EEG/MEG data on humans.
    MY first question on the rat experiment would be what type of electro magnetic measurement they took. I expect an in deep electrocorticography with a higher resolution than ordinary EEG/MEG.

    The deeper brain regions such as the hippocampus are producing nearly no electro or magnetic field. An EEG/MEG should record data from the entire cortex as this is the main source of electromagnetic waves and fields.

    However there are reports of alpha 10-12 Hz waves recorded by EEG/MEG with it’S origin within the hippocampus. There are studies made to proof EEG/MEG can record such 10-12 Hz alpha signals.

    This should show that the problem is not receiving “deeper region ” fields but more about the way that these regions are producing another type of electro magnetic field with lower strength.

    A flat EEG should indicate the shut down of the cortex and with it it’s sensor catching ability. The hippocampus is more related to motory and memory storage, such as a hard disc.

    The result can however show us that motor and data storage parts of the brain shut down later.

    To be honest i do lack a lot of information on that rat study :(((

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

      Hi Andre, thank you for such a comprehensive answer, it is a great help and very much appreciated.

  31. Andre September 9, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    P.S.: It would be interessting if the experiment found evidencer that the cortex is producing em fields in a resolution which is not recorded by EEG/MEG and thus the cortex has not shut down.

    As far as i understand the study the rbain works 30 seconds after cardiac arrest in hyper mode. Horizon research records brain activity stops in a human brain after 50 seconds. The 30 seconds rat data is not that uncommon. We report PEA . Electromechanic pulses in muscles after 10 seconds.

    The problem we got at hand are reports of people receiving data from minutes after the actual cardial arrest. It would be more interesting for me to get an em field analysis of the brain in different resolutions to proof or disaprove the cortex shut down for a longer periode. As stated earlier it is quite difficult to get a broad band width of em data with EEG/MEG.

    I found an in deep research report for the rats.

    Click to access Post-cardiac%20arrest%20temperature%20manipulation%20alters%20early%20EEG%20bursting%20in%20rats.pdf

  32. André September 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    Sorry it’s me again but i found the rat data with some more information.

    Click to access pnas.201308285SI.pdf

    Indeed they collected a broad frenquence spectrum of brain activity. They suggest all NDE/OBE occure 30 seconds after the heart stops as the brain enters red alert state before it gets quite.

    Human Cortex should work 30 seconds after a heart stop.After 10-20 seconds you get unconciouss.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks again Andre, this is all very helpful to me and I’m sure to many of the followers of the blog

  33. Vivek narain September 11, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Hi again penny, All this clamouring after instrumental fine tuning for proof or contradiction is really sad and against all sanity.Taking note of the numerous anecdotes it is very much clear that the beings in the dimension beyond are far advanced in various faculties.The frustrating attempts by neo scientists to catch them by the tail or coax them to reveal their truth alludes to the premise that they are trying to elude us,this thinking goes against all the accounts of nders that the beings are benevolent and are doing all to help us.We can safely believe that,if the afterlife exists,the communication will always be one way and mostly subtle.A computer can never program its operator,it will always be the operator who programs the computer.

    • Dr Penny Sartori September 20, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      Hi Vivek, thank you for your thoughts on this. I hear what you are saying and agree with a lot of your points. Unfortunately, it has taken many, many years for NDEs to be taken seriously and we live in a world that is very much guided by it’s scientific process. I think we live in exciting times as it seems that science is evolving to another level and this time it will incorporate spiritual aspects of what it means to be human as well as the physical.

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