This investigative study into near-death and out-of-body experiences1 and dream states concentrates on the negative occurrences usually left unreported. If negative cases can be demonstrated, then a place like hell may be possible, therefore, it may not be safe to die.
- This is almost certainly utter tripe (and obnoxious utter tripe at that), but it’s an antidote to the “comforting” books that usually fall into the genre on NDEs.
- The Amazon customer reviews are (as is to be expected) mixed – though no-one gave it only one star, and the conservative religious naturally gave it five. Here’s an example, which gives a flavour both of the book, and this class of reviewer …
Amazon Customer Review
- To Hell and Back is not a religious book, even though it is about life after death2. Dr. Rawlings (the author) is not a theologian or a pastor, but a cardiologist. Dr. Rawlings writes of the experiences of his own patients brought back to life. Here are some excerpts from his book.
- With the advent of new resuscitation techniques people can now be brought back to life after being dead several minutes. Just what happens after death? Eleven million Americans have reported near death, or out of body experiences3. The typical description involves a beautiful light at the end of a tunnel. Many Christians are convinced that the light is Jesus Christ, because they often saw a figure on a cross. Some others perceive a heaven conforming to their own particular faith. Remarkably, others see the bright light turn into a ring of fire (pg 10).
- Among the resuscitees who claim to have had a spiritual experience, the experience becomes so real that the victim is transfixed by every detail. While there are many positive experiences, there are also, as we shall soon see, many negative experiences (pg 32).
- WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE SEE LIGHT? Why do people almost always report seeing a light and feeling only peace & serenity after a near death experience4? Many religions associate their leader with light, and as mentioned in the Christian faith, both God and Lucifer claim to be light. It is crucial in near death experiences5 to identify this source of light -- whether the light is a true representative of God, or a luring mirage of evil that imitates God as an all forgiving force (pg 59). Christians often perceive the light as Jesus, while a Jewish person might perceive the light as a representative of Jehovah God, yet a Hindu might envision Brahma, Vishnu, or Shiva, etc... (pg 61). But misrepresentations do in fact occur. One day I (Dr. Rawlings) performed CPR on a man who had been shot in the chest during a bank robbery. During CPR this man told me that he had an out-of-body experience6, during this time he said he encountered the heavenly light, he was surprised at what surrounded him. There was no ridicule or rejection, the sordid parts of his life were not examined, and no mention was made of the couple he had killed three years before during a robbery. (pg 61). I (Keith Mason) think that many of the experiences which seem to be positive, are positive only because it is a trick from Satan himself tricking people into believing that there only is peace and serenity after death (regardless if a person is Christian, Moslem, Atheist, Hindu, Jewish, or whatever); in this way people of all faiths are tricked into believing that there is no accountability, or no judgment. The book is full of people who have had near death experiences7, (both positive and negative). Skeptics dismiss these near death experiences8 as the result of a oxygen-depraved mind, while Theologians think that often these people are seeing none other than Satan himself... (pg 47).
- NOT EVERYONE SEES LIGHT. Not everyone sees light and reports peace and serenity. Dr. Rawlings explains it this way: As a general rule people remember that which is good, and forget that which is bad, and so if the interview is delayed just a little bit -- much less days, weeks, or months after the fact only the positive experiences will be found (pg 33).
- Case in point. As stated earlier, many people see this tunnel of light turn into a ring of fire. Here are a couple of examples:
- I (Dr. Rawlings) was watching a monitor to guide a pacemaker into my patients heart when it happened: his heart stopped. This is the story. The patient recounts his story in this way: I blacked out and then you (Dr. Rawlings) hit me on the chest saying 'excuse me.' ... Somebody was yelling. Something crashed over my left shoulder, everybody went crazy. And then I was out of it. I was floating, pitch black, moving fast. The wind whistled by and I rushed toward this beautiful blazing light. As I moved past, the walls of the tunnel caught fire. Beyond the blazing tunnel a huge lake of fire was burning like an oil spill. Elongated shadows showed that people were moving aimlessly about like animals in a zoo enclosure. Down the hill I saw an old friend who had died -- the last I recall they were dragging the river for him, 'hi there Jim' I called out. He just looked at me, didn't even smile. They were taking him around the corner when he started screaming: I ran, but there was no way out. I kept saying 'Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord.' Suddenly I was back in my body, as you were putting in the stitches. (pg 72). Another account is found on page 75. It goes like this: I was guided to a place in the spirit world called Hell. This is a place of punishment for all those who reject Jesus Christ. I not only saw Hell, but felt the torment that all who go there experience. The darkness of Hell is so intense that it seems to have a pressure per square inch. It is an extremely black, dismal, desolate, pressurized, heavy, type of darkness. It gives the individual a despondent feeling of loneliness. The heat is a dry, dehydrating type: your eyeballs are so dry they feel like red hot coals in their sockets. Your tongue and lips are parched and cracked with intense heat. ... The loneliness of Hell cannot be expressed. (pg 75). Yet another story follows: I (Dr. Rawlings) was giving CPR to a patient when the following incident occurred. I inserted a pacemaker through the shoulder and guided it through the vain into Charlie's heart. His heart stopped so I began to pound on the his heart, but as I did blood spurted out, I stopped to adjust the pacemaker. And as I did, Charlie's eyes would roll back in his head, he would sputter, turn blue, and convulse. This happened several times. Once while I was stopped to adjust the pacemaker Charlie screamed, 'Don't stop, don't stop, I'm in Hell, I'm in Hell.' Hallucinations, I thought at first, but most victims say, 'Take your big hands off me, your breaking my ribs,' but he was saying the opposite 'For God’s sake don't stop! Don't you understand, every time you stop I'm in Hell. When he asked me to pray for him I felt downright insulted. I told him to shut up, I'm a doctor, not a minister or a psychiatrist. Then the nurse gave me that expectant look. What would you do? That's when I composed a make believe prayer. I made him repeat the prayer to keep him off my back. Say it! Jesus Christ son of God, Keep me out of Hell. And a very strange thing took place. He was no longer that wild-eyed screaming lunatic. It was then that I too (Dr. Rawlings) became a Christian (pg 37).
- As I said earlier, Dr. Rawlings is not a Theologian, or a Minister, rather an unbiased Doctor who has written the findings of the patients he has resuscitated.
Acknowledgments – 9
Preface – 10
- Glimpses into the Afterlife9 – 15
- Resuscitated Collections – 29
- Heaven and the Angel of Light – 45
- Hell Is Just Plain Hell – 65
- Has Hell Disappeared? – 81
- Near-Death Experiences10 – 93
- Out-of-the-Body Experiences – 117
- Cosmic Consciousness – 147
- The Arrival of the New Age – 173
- The Abode of Glory – 203
- The Search for Meaning – 219
Appendix – 246
Notes – 248
Thomas Nelson (1993)
"Rawlings (Maurice S.) - To Hell and Back: Life after Death - Startling New Evidence"
Source: Rawlings (Maurice S.) - To Hell and Back: Life after Death - Startling New Evidence
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)5 and beyond the numerous "near-death experiences6" (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 experiences7, 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, 2020
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)