‘Near Death Experiences’ and Cultural Change.

Earth Rise from the Moon, 20th July 1969, NASA.

Earth Rise from the Moon, 20th July 1969, NASA.

“An unfathomable light fills the entire orb of the earth.
Ringing powerfully through and through is the most highly desired assurance”. 
J.S.Bach, Cantata no 125, With Peace and Joy I Depart.

While he was recovering in hospital from a heart attack, Carl Jung had a series of visionary experiences that have become widely known from the account in his autobiography: “it seemed to me that I was high up in space.  Far below I saw the globe of the Earth, bathed in a gloriously blue light.  I saw the deep blue sea and the continents.  Far below my feet lay Ceylon, and in the distance ahead of me the subcontinent of India.  My field of vision did not include the whole Earth, but its global shape was plainly distinguishable and its outlines shone with a silvery gleam through that wonderful blue light.  In many places the globe seemed coloured, or spotted dark green like oxidized silver.”  This was almost twenty five years before astronauts sent back images of Earthrise from the Moon.

Jung then became aware of a huge black stone floating nearby, reminiscent of some rocks he had seen on the coast of the Bay of Bengal in which temples has been carved.  A Hindu man was waiting for him at the entrance to just such a temple.  “As I approached the steps leading up to the entrance into the rock, a strange thing happened: I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me – an extremely painful process.  Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me. I might also say: it was with me, and I was it. I consisted of all that, so to speak. I consisted of my own history and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am. I am this bundle of what has been and what has been accomplished“.(1).

After many years’ work he had just completed Psychology and Alchemy, and had been meditating on alchemical symbolism.  It is perhaps not surprising then that he saw, or was shown, a huge black stone, or lapis.  The epilogue to Psychology and Alchemy  concludes with the prescient assertion that ‘mysterious life-processes’ pose riddles that can’t be solved by reason alone.  We must engage with direct experience.  ‘As the alchemists themselves warned us: “Rumpite libros, ne corda vestra rumpantur” -Rend the books, lest your heart be rent asunder’.

During the N.D.E vision Jung met his doctor in ‘primal form’.  Shortly after this he became furious with the doctor’s insistence that he return to the ‘prison’ of earthly life, and frustrated by his refusal to talk about their recent otherworldly meeting.  He was also seized by a premonitory conviction that his own life was about to be exchanged for that of the doctor.  Then, on the day he was finally allowed to sit up in bed the doctor came down with a fever that proved fatal.

After this he experienced a sequence of indescribably beautiful and intense visions of otherworldly weddings, including the mystic marriage between ‘All-father Zeus and Hera’.

Despite his marked reluctance to return to the ‘box system’ of Earthly life, Jung tells us that: “After the illness a fruitful period of work began for me.  A good many of my principal works were written only then   I surrendered myself to the current of my thoughts.  Thus one problem after the other revealed itself to me and took shape.”

In subsequent writings he discussed the alchemical notion of scintillae, or sparks from the light of nature -‘seeds of light broadcast in the chaos’ […] ‘dispersed or sprinkled in and throughout the structure of the great world into all fruits of the elements everywhere’.  I particularly like Cornelius Agrippa von Nettleheim’s observation that from this “luminositas sensus naturae”, ‘gleams of prophecy come down to the four footed beasts, the birds, and other living creatures, enabling them to foretell future things’.(2)  Many N.D.E. experiencers describe meeting beings of light (sometimes percieved as angels) that may lead or follow them, and take their pain away.

Jung’s account raises many questions -about the effect of cultural assumptions, emotional states, and spiritual practice, as well as about the nature of other dimensions or worlds and their inhabitants.  His perception of earthly life as a ‘prison’, for example, seems a rather extreme expression of the inevitable tension between otherworldly ecstasy and remembered pain in this world.  Perhaps he was influenced by the longstanding devaluation of material existence (and of women as agents of incarnation) in Western philosophy and transcendental religion?  This prejudice, which feminist theorists such as Val Plumwood and Grace Jantzen have traced back to Plato -whose Story of Er is regarded as one of the first recognisable ‘N.D.E’ accounts- reached its apogee in gnosticism, and is apparent where alchemy becomes a quest to liberate light ‘imprisoned’ in matter.

N.D.E. studies consistently find that people typically return with a deepened and broadened spiritual sensibility.  Some people have abandoned rigid religious views after meeting spiritual figures or deities from traditions other than their own.  On the other hand many N.D.E’rs don’t associate the ‘beings of light’ they meet with any religious tradition.  Jung’s account is the only one I’ve seen to date in which Pagan deities appear.  His visions differ from the classic ‘N.D.E’ in that they continued during an almost three week period of tenuous recovery, but were typically pluralistic (as well as reflective of his worldview) since he also encountered figures from Hindu, Jewish Kabbalistic, and Christian traditions.

Unfortunately much of the N.D.E. literature is framed in dualistic New Age or Christian terms.  Even Kenneth Ring, an American psychologist, talks about ‘black uncertainty’ and the ‘blackest moments’ of the twentieth Century, and refers to ‘the Light’ coming to show us our evolutionary way forward.(3)   Against this we might mention various positive references to fecund blackness in alchemy -‘the black earth in which the gold of the lapis is sown like the grain of wheat’, or ‘the exeeding precious stone proclaims: “I beget the light, but the darkness too is of my nature” ‘.(4)

My take on this is that we need to recognise the difference between duality and dualism.  Clearly, there needs to be debate about how ‘N.D.E’-like experiences are framed, and how they can be recruited into dominant religious discourse.  Some of the frightening ‘N.D.E’s that have been somewhat marginalised within the dualistic literature may be akin to ‘the perilous adventure of the night sea journey’, shamanic initiation, or the ordeal of the deceased in the Bardo realm of Tibetan lore.  Jung, did, after all, describe the ‘life review’-like element of his visionary experience as ‘an extremely painful process’, and felt depressed about the need to return.

Hieronymous Bosch, Ascent of the Blessed c1490-1516, Web Gallery of Art, Wikimedia Commons.

Hieronymous Bosch, Ascent of the Blessed c1490-1516, Web Gallery of Art, Wikimedia Commons.


A recent research study involving fifty participants from an American town focussed on responding to the often problematic impact and after effects of N.D.E-like experiences.  Suzanne Gordon situated her research in the context of ‘escalating social and ecological crises and an in-progress paradigm-shift away from the still-official Newtonian/Cartesian material world view of Western culture’ [towards] a (re)emergent sacred worldview more comparable to diverse indigenous knowledge systems.  She argues that the marginalisation faced by people who have had Spiritually Transformative Experiences (not just N.D.E’s)  is comparable to discrimination on the basis of sexuality, and has been instrumental in setting up an organisation that aims to listen to the stories of experts-by-experience, de-medicalise spiritual/visionary experience, educate professionals, and establish peer support groups.(5)

Near Death Experiencers tend to become more altruistic and compassionate, and have an increased appreciation of life.  They may feel a greater concern for the ecological health of the planet and some acquire acute psychic sensitivity and/or healing abilities.  The process of re-integration within an uncomprehending mainstream is often challenging however.  Only three of Gordon’s fifty participants had little difficulty with integration -two of whom were the only two African American participants in her project.  One of these women said that her family ‘talk to dead people all the time’.  The only difference her N.D.E. had made was that her ‘windows were open a little more’, and she now had no fear of death.

To be continued …

B.T. 24nd February 2017.


(1) Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Knopf Doubleday 2011, and a longer extract here.

(2) Carl Jung, On the Nature of the Psyche, Routledge Classics, 2001, citing Khunrath and von Nettleheim, and Psychology and Alchemy, Routledge Kegan and Paul 1980 (first published 1944).

(3) For example his chapter in Lee W. Bailey and Jenny Yates, The Near Death Experience, A Reader, Routledge, 2013.

(4) Carl Jung, Pyschology and Alchemy, Routledge Kegan and Paul 1980 (first published 1944)

(5) Suzanne Gordon, Field Notes from the Light, PhD thesis, University of Maryland, 2007 and see the webiste of the American Centre for the Integration of Spirituality.






End of Life Experiences; Two Books by Peter Fenwick and Elizabeth Fenwick

Tree Woman, Coloured Sketch, Peter Goode.

Coloured Sketch, P.G.

A research study based on interviews with nurses, doctors, and carers in two hospices and one nursing home in London found that profoundly meaningful ‘end of life experiences’ were not uncommon.  Peter Fenwick, Hilary Lovelace, and Sue Brayne, conclude that the subjective experiences of people who are dying, and phenomena that occur around death, need to be taken seriously if we are to develop best practice in spiritual end-of-life care.

Amongst the end-of-life experiences commonly reported are visions of deceased relatives (or friends) sitting on or next to the patient’s bed providing emotional warmth and comfort (64% and 54% in retrospective and prospective studies), visions of relatives or ‘religious figures’ who appear to ‘collect’ the dying person (62% and 48%), a sense of transitioning between this world and another reality (33% and 48%), dreams or visions in which the person feels comforted and prepared for death (62% and 50%), a sense of being called or pulled by someone or something (56% and 57%), the symbolic appearance of a significant bird, animal, or insect near the time of death (45% and 35%), light surrounding or near the dying person (often seen by therapists), relatives or friends being ‘visited’ by them at the time of death (55% and 48%), and synchronic occurances such as clocks stopping or lights coming on.  The prevailing scientific view, however, has been that ELE’s, especially deathbed visions, ‘have no intrinsic value, and are either confusional or drug induced.'(1)

Although Peter Fenwick, a renowned neuropsychiatrist, is no critical or post- psychiatrist, he clearly realises the importance of taking what people say seriously, not least when many respondents feared they would be thought mad if they talked about their visions.  His writings therefore cast some interesting light on an important but culturally neglected area of human experience.  I’m reminded of the work of Marius Romme and Sandra Escher on voice hearing (which challenged the medicalisation of madness) and, to some extent, Stanislas Grof on perinatal and transpersonal experience (but see note 1).

In the first of two books (co-authored with his wife Elizabeth Fenwick, a writer on health issues) Peter Fenwick reviews some 350 responses to a questionnaire sent to people who responded to his media appearances.  Although the main features described in Near Death Experiences -passing along a tunnel towards a welcoming and compassionate light, meeting beings of ‘light’, a momentary but somehow panoramic life review, coming to a barrier of some kind where a decision is made, and returning to the physical body- have become quite well known, only 2% of Fenwick’s respondents had previously heard of N.D.E’s.  For most, their Near Death Experience was a spiritual awakening in a broad and universal sense.

The accounts of N.D.E’s presented in this and other studies (cited here) do, nevertheless, show considerable individual and cultural variation.  For example, American studies report many more appearances by Jesus and by angels, whilst a study of Indian experiences showed that most people there were collected by Yamraj, the messenger of the Hindu god of death, rather than by deceased relatives.  Some Western individuals, however, met figures from Eastern cultures -and had their religious horizons broadened as a result.  For one woman the welcoming presence was a tree.

Most of the accounts were intensely autobiographical, but a few people were ‘shown glimpses of the past or of the future on a more cosmic scale’.  One man who could see Peterborough cathedral and small W’s of swans flying across the sky as he waited for an operation, but then suffered a coronory thrombosis followed by cardiac arrest and was rushed into Intensive Care, felt himself “become weightless several times and float up into the sky” where he joined the swans as a “very junior member of their family group”.  During some of these flights he was aware that the cathedral had not been built yet.  “It was as though the fens were in a primeval state”.  He saw men in medieval dress punting on the great meres, and the cathedral being built. “I felt as if I had existed forever, my being and ‘soul’ had been this way before.” (Fenwick 1996 pp131-2)

Cultural variation could be taken to show that such experiences are socially constructed in much the same way as dreams, but of course, otherworlds might also be constructed in ways that make them familiar and welcoming – congruent with the expectations, needs, and understandings of new arrivals.  Intriguingly, 38% of respondents met someone ‘on the other side’ who was still alive.  Does this mean that their experiences were ‘just dreams’?  Shortly after the death of her mother, a Japanese woman dreamt that she was standing in the middle of a river with her parents on either side.  Her mother was beckoning her father to cross, but he didn’t.  Although, in keeping with Japanese Buddhist symbolism, the barrier between worlds often takes the form of a river in Japanese N.D.E accounts, this woman had been brought up a Christian with no knowledge of Buddhism, and no recollection of hearing about the river symbolism. (we are not told whether she’d heard about the Styx though).

Given the intensely subjective and emotional nature of these experiences I was not entirely suprised to see that 78% of respondents were women.

In the Fenwicks’ second book, which reports findings from the study of London health professionals and carers, the concept of a journey emerges as a central theme.  The other world which people visit has a quality of absolute reality, but in the case of ‘deathbed visions’ it is as though ‘this world and the other reality overlap, dissolving into each other so that both can be experienced at once’. (2008 p44)  The dying person is rarely confused by this, is usually aware that not everyone can see what they can see, and may conduct separate simultaneous conversations with this-worldy and other-worldly visitors.  Given the importance of sorting out unfinshed business, it’s interesting that many carers report that two or three days before a death a room often becomes extremely peaceful and dominated by feelings of love, as though the process of death somehow sets up conditions that facilitate the resolution of personal conflict.  For me this (along with various phenomena mentioned in other accounts) raises questions about the agency and power of other-worldly people vis-a-vis this worldly affairs.

There are fairly brief discussions of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, mythological themes, Jungian archetypes, quantum entanglement, and the notion of extended and inter-connected mind.  I couldn’t help noticing some tension between two authorial voices -within Peter Fenwick I suspect.  One regards ghosts and mediumship as ‘tiger country for scientists’, writes that most of us ‘cling to this pale ghost … like a child with its comfort blanket’, persists in referring to visions as hallucinations even where the person is lucid (and despite instances where a vision is shared by other people), and eagerly anticipates ‘a body of homespun Western mystics becoming available for study’, whilst another is open-mindedly empathetic and, for example, regards co-incidence as a simplistic explanation for many of these phenomena.  I was also concerned that the authors’ perspective veered towards over-valuing the transcendental.  Their work, nonetheless, constitutes a significant challenge to cultural amnesia, and to insititutional resistance against respecting intimate subjective experience.

I’ll close by quoting from a contribution from a woman describing her sister’s death: “I saw a fast moving ‘Willo-the-wisp’ appear to leave her body from the side of her mouth on the right. The shock and beauty of it made me gasp.  It appeared like a fluid or gaseous diamond, pristine, sparkly, and pure, akin to the view from above of an eddy in the clearest pool you can imagine.”

B.T 26/4/15

Note 1: Unlike Peter Fenwick, Stanislas Grof developed an intensive ‘therapeutic’ method, inclduing controversial experimental work with LSD.


(1) 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, 2009. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2009.10.004

Fenwick, P (2004) Dying, a Spiritual Experience as shown by Near Death Experiences and Deathbed Visions. http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/PDF/PFenwickNearDeath.pdf (accessed 17/3/15).

Fenwick, P and Fenwick, E (1996) The Truth in the Light, An Investigation of over 300 Near-Death Experiences, White Crow Books.

Fenwick, P and Fenwick, E. (2008) The Art of Dying, London, Bloomsbury.

Fenwick P. (2012) Dr Peter Fenwick Discusses Dying, Death, and Survivial, Interview by White Crow Books:

Animism and the Moment of Death

The Flying Egg, watercolour, Peter Goode.

The Flying Egg, watercolour, Peter Goode.

With each death and each funeral people cried out in anguish, drawing others into the region of death and dying so that no-one in that torn space was isolated or silenced.” Deborah Bird Rose.

Bereavement and Place

In Wild Dog Dreaming, Love and Extinction, Deborah Bird Rose writes about Australian aboriginal funerals that reach out, through anger, negotiation, song, and tears, ‘to the individuality of the dead person, to their country, and to the spirits that may have been walking about, to the Dreamings that take notice, to the family, to the custodians of the dead, and to the stories, like the Dingo and the Moon.’  She contrasts this with the awfulness of some Pentecostal funerals where members of the congregation were urged to rejoice because their brother or sister had gone to heaven.  What made those funerals awful was the suppression of traditional modes of grieving that ‘turn death back towards life’.  ‘Those howling harmonies, sing the dying person through death, and into the great turning’; they sing the dead back into their home country.  Death may end a particular life, but life itself is ‘a process of ongoing cross-species transformations’.(1)

A bit closer to home, on September 2nd a small crackling radio filled our living room with almost unbearably poignant music.  Liam O’Flynn was playing the slow air Port na bPucai on the uilleann pipes at Seamus Heaney’s funeral in Dublin.  In The Given Note Heaney alludes to one of several stories about the origin of this tune.  Some Blasket Islanders were rowing back from Inishvikilaune when they heard strange sounds on the wind, or perhaps reverberating in the hull of their currach.  One of them was a fiddler, so he picked up his bow and played along. Another story tells of an elderly couple who were cattle herders spending the summer on Little Blasket.  The woman heard a strange sound in the night, and realising it was a female voice, woke her husband.  They listened all night until they’d learned the tune. Port na bPucai means ‘Music of the Faeries’, but for non believers a third story attributes the tune to the singing of humpback whales heading for their breeding grounds around Cape Verde.  Either way, this is clearly elemental/spirit music.

An entire genre of Celtic storytelling, the immrama, is devoted to voyages to otherworldly islands in the West.  It is often slow plaintive music that enchants the traveller, enabling them to cross over into the timeless realm of the ever-living.  Our modern English word enchantment comes from the Latin incantare, to chant or charm. Judging by the sounds coming through that little radio, Seamus Heaney was well sung through death.

Animism and Death

Encounters with death, and in particular, various extra-ordinary experiences around moments of death, have been pivotal to my understanding of animism.  The Victorian anthropologist Edward Tylor theorised animism as a universal proto-religion characterised by a belief in ‘spiritual beings’.  According to Tylor animists make the fundamental conceptual error of attributing life to ‘inanimate’ objects and souls to non-human animals.  Understandings of death have, therefore, also been pivotal to ongoing debates about animism.  In his chapter on death, for example, Graham Harvey writes ‘the least interesting thing about ancestors is that they are dead’.  For Harvey, our culturally framed relationships with them are what matters.(2)  Some new animist writing, however, seems to privilege this-worldly ecological relationship at the expense of marginalising extra-ordinary experience, thereby conceding vital ground to Tylorian scientism.  Tylor’s polemic was, after all, intended to facilitate the eventual eradication of animist belief, as he defined it, by the advance of scientific rationality.(3)

In his Wonders of Life series for B.B.C television, Brian Cox visited Sagada, a town in the northern Philippines famed for a nearby cliff face adorned with hanging coffins.  He went there to witness the festival of the Day of the Dead, and to restate Tylor’s argument in the context of twenty first century science.  He began by pointing out that in this area Catholicism was thinly grafted on to indigenous animism, and defining the latter as a belief that ‘a life force or soul … exists in all things from the lower animals to trees, lakes and mountains’, and that the spirits of the dead return (in this case) to the living mountain.  He then acknowledged that ‘this potent brew of superstition’ was enacted in moving and spectacular fashion, in ‘a quite magical hillside churchyard’, and was surprised to find a sense of celebration that felt closer to a family reunion than a bereavement. It would be inappropriate to dismiss these people’s belief in spirits ‘without thought’, since ‘it certainly feels right’.  Professor Cox, however, asserted that when he dies he’ll be ‘nothing more than an inanimate bag of chemicals slung on the floor’. ‘Nothing will have left, yet what will be left will no longer be me’.  He therefore feels that it’s incumbent upon science to explain how our feeling of being alive, and all the processes associated with living, could have emerged from their chemical constituents.(4)

As an embodied human being, however, Brian Cox cannot know whether he will be reduced to nothing more than a pile of chemicals at the moment of death.  This kind of absolute mechanist-materialist negation might best be described as reverse metaphysics.  Whilst most animists would share his enthusiasm for a science that illuminates the wonder-full minutiae of the natural world, most would, I suspect, balk at his totalising claim that its up to science is to provide a complete description of the universe, and answer the question ‘what is life?’  Such a view, which leaves no space for other kinds of knowledge, no room for other ways of thinking about the human condition, is well described (not least by other scientists such as Susan Greenfield) as scientism.  One of the commonest expressions of this faith is neurological reductionism.

Near Death Experience

A recent example of the genre can be seen in the claims made by Dr Jimo Borjigin and her team arising from experiments in which they gave rats lethal injections in order to measure their brain activity as they died, or as they describe it ‘we performed continuous electroencephalography in rats undergoing experimental cardiac arrest ‘.  Borjigin’s finding was that, contrary to expectation, the rats’ brains were, if anything, much more active in the thirty second period after their hearts had stopped beating than in a normal waking state.  This ‘raging fire’ of cerebral activity would generate ‘realer than real’ feelings and is proposed as the possible neurological basis of Near Death Experiences (NDE’s).  Borjigin commented that many people who have had NDE’s ‘think its evidence they actually went to heaven – perhaps even spoke with God’, and, worryingly, argues that her results ‘open the door to further studies in humans’.(5)  I’m reminded of my PhD supervisors, Pat Bracken and Phil Thomas, who caution against the use of neuroscience in psychiatry by likening it to an attempt to understand Picasso’s Guernica by analysing the chemical composition of the pigments used.(6)

 In a landmark study that attends to the phenomenology, subjective meaning, and cultural implications, of Near Death Experiences, as well as to a variety of associated neurophysiological phenomena (including the parameters of brain death), Dutch cardiologist Pim Van Lommel concludes that N.D.E’s are profoundly transformative learning experiences.  Having collected testimony from many patients who could accurately recall details from a period of surgery when they were under general anesthesia, he proposed a theory of non-local consciousness, based on the assumption that consciousness has ‘no material basis’, and that the brain works in a manner analogous to a television set.(7)  Van Lommel brings an eclectic, pluralistic, and open minded approach, to bear on an important and long suppressed area of human experience, and hopes to improve the quality of care for individual patients and their families.  His conclusions raise a multitude of questions relevant to animism.

Saying Goodbye to Samuel

samuel on wall247

Samuel was a wonderfully strong willed black cat who adopted us, and lived with us for just over thirteen years.  He would come for quite long walks with us, and would knock imperiously on the cat flap to be let in! Eventually he succumbed to the wear and tear of life, as we all do, and became weak and lethargic. I vividly remember him making a determined last circuit of his territory, even though he could barely walk by then.  And how he came upstairs and laid down by my bedroom door. His health suddenly deteriorated, so my partner took him to the dreaded vet.  I found her sitting in the car afterwards, in floods of tears.  Samuel’s kidneys had failed, and she’d been told that the kindest thing to do would be to have him put down.

After sitting in the car with Samuel, I took him back in.  The vet was pleasant enough, but very formal, and clearly didn’t want to talk to me.  He seemed uncomfortable when I looked into Samuel’s beautifully expressive eyes, said goodbye, and wished him ‘bon voyage’.  Perhaps he thought I was crazy?  Perhaps vets need to protect themselves during what must be a very difficult part of their job.  Anyway, he came back with a nurse.  Shortly after the injection Samuel yelped in pain, and then went, almost instantly.  I found it ‘very shocking’.  We cried a lot.  I cleared up.  Felt horribly disorientated.  Fortunately I was able to talk to two close friends who were sympathetic.  One told me how some people had been dismissive of her bereavement when her dog had died.  Then, of course, all the memories flooded back. Samuel’s lovely purring.  His demands and complaints!  His playfulness.  The wonderful affectionate calls.  He was, quite simply, a loved and valued member of the family.  Again, a multitude of questions arise, but I’ll leave them in the air for now ….

(More on Deborah Bird Rose’s book shortly )

Other Animists’ thoughts on Death can be found at October’s Animist Blog Carnival (sometime after 1st Oct), c/o Eaarth Animist


(1)Deborah Bird Rose, Wild Dog Dreaming, Love and Extinction, University of Virginia Press, 2011.

(2) Graham Harvey, Animism, Respecting the Living World, Hurst, 2005.

(3) Brian Taylor, Birds, Liminality, and Human Transformation: An Animist Perspective on New Animism, in The Pomegranate, 14.1 (2012) 108-127.

(4) Brian Cox, The Wonders of Life, Harper Collins/B.B.C. 2013.

(5) B.B.C News, 13/8/13, and pnas.org/blogs/health (consulted 26/9/13).

(6) Pat Bracken and Phil Thomas, Postpsychiatry, Mental Health in a Postmodern World, Oxford University Press, 2005.

(7) Pim van Lommel, Consciousness Beyond Life, the Science of Near Death Experience, HarperCollins 2011.