"I am reading your book Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of the Story
and am enjoying it very much. Though I do have a problem with something you wrote. You said tunnels people say they have seen "don't match the pop." I take offense to this. I had an NDE and there WAS a tunnel. It is not something I could describe well, but it was there. I would love to know what you have to say about this."
Nameless, posted to Facebook.
In the first scientific survey conducted by Gallup Poll in 1982, they found only 9% of the people claiming to have had a near-death experience, reported a tunnel. Such reportings remained few in number until after the media sensationalized Raymond Moody's first book, Life After Life. Suddenly, people spoke about tunnels, lots of them. I was attending a near-death experiencer group meeting after that and personally witnessed experiencers changing the term of what they went through, to "tunnel." No, I do not think anyone lied. What I think has happened over the years since, and because of continued media attention, is that we now have a word (tunnel) to use when were not sure what it was we saw or traveled through during our episode. Words, after all, are a huge challenge for all of us. What do you call things when the language we speak doesn't cover or describe what we encountered? Tunnels? Yes, interesting word, and now affixed to the near-death phenomenon whether it truly fits or not.
During my 33 years of researching the phenomenon, less that a..." of the people I had sessions with reported a tunnel. Children seldom do. In other countries, experiencers almost never relate to such a term at all. The idea of tunnels applies more to cases in America, some in Canada, and Western Europe, a few in Australia, and that's about it. You can trace the popularity of tunnels mostly to those countries where Moody's book became a best seller. Not entirely, but to a large extent.
None of this means that tunnels are not experienced. Obviously, you had one. Many people do - but not as many as popular notions might imply. I do not consider tunnels a signature feature because of this; rather, one component of many experiencers might have. The main components, repeated around the world regardless of age, religion, sex, or culture are: richly detailed out-of-body experiences (often verified with third-party testimonials), an incredibly bright and knowing light (that knows your name and can converse with you), and a greeter of some kind (usually a loved one who has died or a pet, possibly an angel, religious figure, or light being, sometimes a living individual there to comfort you - once that is done he or she disappears, replaced by figures more typical of near-death states). There are others, but these three are the most reported globally.
I recommend that you read The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences
for a more well-rounded presentation of the different aspects of the near-death phenomenon worldwide and the research that has thus far been done. In that book, by the way, is a drawing of a tunnel made by an experiencer who went through one.
"I came across your name from Dr. Eben Alexander's website. I'm really curious. In the mid-eighties, my grandmother had died. My sister and I visited my parents one weekend and my mother was telling us about these visits from my grandmother. Both of us just let it go. At 2:00 am, the phone rang twice, and there were these two white silhouettes at the woodpile at the end of the yard. I had never seen that before and neither did had my sister. My sister claimed it was all our imagination. My mother died in March of 2012. Family members have felt and seen her and dad's presence in their homes. The only thing I had was the following.
"In July of 2013, I was sitting in my living room and there was a silhouette shaped as a human being that went right across my window. My neighbor's mother died in April of 2013, and death was a topic of discussion that came up a lot. So, I'm wondering if that influenced my consciousness. In your mind, does GOD really exist or is this all a figment of our imagination? I'd like to think it isn't. But, with all the terrible things that happen in this world, I often wonder if nature and GOD are the same and we have no control over anything? Nature has an agenda for everybody. I would like your perspective. Thank you."
In the meantime, know a little about me. I am one of the original researchers in the field of near-death studies, having begun my work in 1978 and have written 10 books on my findings. I was one of the researchers called in on Eben's case. The reason for all my work for so many years? I had three near-death experiences in three months in 1977, and a voice which spoke to me during my third episode gave me my mission. . . this work. My sense is that voice was of God.
Now, back to you. The telephone is one of the ways the dead can reach us. This happens fairly often. Sometimes no one is there when you answer the phone; sometimes the loved one speaks. It takes a great deal of energy for someone on the Other Side to contact people on this side. That energy is not always easy to muster. What you have described in your various experiences is a rather typical type of event and response. Those apparitions were real, what you saw was real, evidence to back this up is legion - scientific evidence. Skeptics claim no such evidence exists. They are wrong. There is more than enough research done in this area of the paranormal to more than establish the validity and reality of spirit communications and life of some kind after death.
In God real? I have no doubt that this is so, but maybe not as described in the Bible or the Qur'an. God is neither man nor woman, but an intelligence, an "isness," above and beyond what most of us can comprehend. So is the reason we are alive, our job while here, and what life seems to be about. I have a book coming out in 2014 that may "fill in the blanks" for you. It is entitled Dying to Know You: Proof of God in the Near-Death Experience
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