Preface (Full Text)
- He said, "Everyone knows he went to hell!"
- I said, "But the preacher says he's on his way to heaven!"
- Funerals are strange things, but death is stranger still. Wouldn't it be an honor to have just a momentary glimpse into the mysterious life beyond? At first thought an impossibility, but perhaps not so impossible in the days of modern resuscitation, where eight to eleven million Americans have already reported near-death experiences1, the majority strangely visualizing a veritable glimpse of glory.
- The typical description involves a beautiful light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Many Christians were convinced that the figure of light they encountered was Jesus because they saw him on a cross, the exuberant experience forever changing their lives. Some others perceived a possible heaven conforming to their own particular faith. Remarkably, others saw the same tunnel and the apparent light turn into a horrible ring of fire, the light becoming inexplicably evil, convincing them that they had been to hell and back, an unheralded failure, the ultimate bane of existence.
- Of the numerous authors investigating near-death experiences2, almost none of them report negative or unpleasant cases. Instead, they insist that all cases are positive and glorious, thus promoting the confident assumption that heaven's gates are open wide for everyone who dies regardless of religion or belief.
- The resulting conclusions of these authors seem clear. No longer do these investigators consider death as oblivion or the end of it all. And none of them seem to believe in a place called hell. Because they see only the "good" experiences for the next life — that all near-death experiences3 report a common glimpse of glory — the birth of a new religion and philosophy has emerged. Some of them call it the "Omega Point," since near-death observations in their experiences indicate that heaven is a free ride for everyone who dies, and this becomes the glorious counselling now given at the bedside of many dying patients.
- Some conclude that the popular reincarnation4 faiths proclaimed by various Shirley MacLainers are not sustained by the persistent and repeated appearance of glory awaiting one and all, suggesting that karma and repeated rebirths (where everyone is essentially given chance after chance until they finally get it right) are no longer supported by the evidence, since the evidence indicates that they "got it right" the first time.
- The purpose of this book is simply to expose the negative cases, those secreted, embarrassing cases found primarily during resuscitative procedures, during the heat of the battle for survival, the time when nothing is concealed, the time when the psychologists and psychiatrists who write most of the books on the subject are absent from the scene.
- If negative cases can be readily demonstrated, cases disturbing enough to permanently change lives, then a place like hell would seem reasonable. And if hell is possible, then it may not be safe to die. And if it may not be safe to die, then we better look further into the negative reports of those who found glimpses other than glory beyond death's door before we make our own decisions.
- To accomplish this, we shall travel through the familiar "out-of-the-body experiences" (OBEs) and beyond the numerous "near-death experiences5" (NDEs), examining those cases where extreme circumstances may literally have scared the hell out of the individual involved, without any loss of consciousness or heartbeat at all. We will focus primarily upon "flatliners" who were medically retrieved from actual clinical death and describe the glimpses they experienced after prolonged periods of absent heartbeat, absent breathing, and absent vital functions. These are the cases that report more than a glimpse — usually a full sequence of analytical events — many of them occurring in very unpleasant environments.
- We shall also emphasize the "Bell Curve" invariance of typical population studies, the curve consistently exhibiting positive events on one end and negative events on the other, neither to the exclusion of the other. We will progressively explore both positive and negative events in dream states (most of us have experienced nightmares, for instance) and proceed to display the same bipolar distribution in drug states, altered states of consciousness, deathbed experiences, and, not surprisingly, in many near-death experiences6, particularly in the resuscitated events where the brush with death nears a biological permanency.
- If negative events repeatedly occur in all of the above circumstances, then why aren't they reported? I am sure you will find the various reasons quite interesting.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)