Saturday, May 05, 2012

Race and Near-Death Experience


“I have been searching the Internet trying to find information about black people having NDEs, but have had very little luck. I could only find 2 cases on YouTube that have featured a black person who had an NDE. I have been interested in the NDE phenomenon for about the past 25 years, but I have very, very rarely seen any cases involving a black person having an NDE (I am estimating less than 10 times over those 25 years). I then got into a discussion at an NDE forum about the very few accounts of black near-death experiences ( ). The discussion starts at the 2nd post from the top. The discussion continues intermittently throughout the thread from that point on. By the way, my name is “JS” at that forum.) I did a search on the Internet and managed to find an article you had written that stated 20% of all NDEs are from black people.

“My question is. . . why is it so very, very difficult to find an account of a black person that has had an NDE?

“Using your figure of 20% of all adult NDEs are from black people, that should mean that about 2 out of every 10 should be of black people. However, in all the books, movies, TV specials, and talk shows that I have watched over the past 25 years, I have not seen anywhere close to that figure (2 out of 10) of NDEs regarding black people. Please don’t take this as a complaint against your research, because it is not a complaint. I am just trying to figure out why I have not been able to find anywhere near 20% of black people having an NDE.

“I would be interested in your opinion about this, and also any info you have about how you conducted your research about the racial makeup of near-death experiences.”....Randy


The 20% applies only to my research base, not overall, although it easily could. In my books I have consistently covered cases of Black people who had near-death experiences. Seldom did I identify them as being Black, nor have I identified my Oriental cases as Yellow; Mexican/South American as Brown, Native American as Red, or anyone as White. I gave first names mostly as my identifier, and sometimes where they lived. That’s it. Go back to the story of Haisley Long in Beyond the Light (pages 93/94 in the original edition of the book). Haisley is an African Canadian. In the book, The New Children and Near-Death Experiences, Tonecia Maxine McMillan is an African American, so is Nathan Kyles III (although I did say he was Black because of the racial prejudice I believe was involved in aspects of his case), as well as Virgil Rinquest. There are others, although by now I have forgotten their names.

I have steered away from anything to do with race, as you can see, because I wanted my work to address the human story, all of us, as the people we are. I have also tried to steer clear of social issues, although a few were unavoidable in dealing with the aftereffects. This deletion of race/ethnicity may or may not have been a wise choice. I cannot judge that. I was puzzled, though, from the beginnings of my work, why I almost never heard of Blacks in any other researcher’s studies. This never made any sense to me and I can offer you nothing as a reason why. I do know that a few years ago there was a small study done of only Black experiencers. You might check with the office of IANDS (International Association for Near-Death Studies), as they may be able to locate it for you (

It would be good if a larger study was done of Blacks only (no matter the country) and published in book form for public distribution (maybe an e-book). I can see where this would fill a void that needs filling. I suspect what is holding any such study back is financial support. Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke, who wrote the incredibly powerful book Cosmic Consciousness (back in the late 1800s and early 1900s) was puzzled as to why intense spiritual transformations (similar to some NDEs) never happened to Blacks. I believe he never found any because of where and how he was looking. I can assure you Black people have just as many NDEs as do those of any other race, but such cases are harder to find.......because most Blacks will not talk about them!!! Fortunately, many did talk to me and for that I am grateful. PMH


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