My heart stopped for 30mins and spirits gave warning that came true decade later
Accounts of the afterlife have been recorded since ancient times.
But since the 1970s, when medical techniques for resuscitation became more advanced, they have been reported more frequently all over the globe.
Here, Daily Star discovers the most fascinating stories which prove these experiences are shared worldwide.
Greeted by a group of beings
In 1999, US orthopaedic surgeon Dr Mary Neal almost drowned in a kayaking accident, and her heart stopped for more than half an hour.
Dr Neal said during this time she looked down on her body from above, then travelled to a place she describes as heaven.
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There she was greeted by a group of beings who she later found out were the spirits of her dead ancestors. The spirits also revealed her eldest son would die, but didn’t say when or how.
Ten years later, Dr Neal’s eldest son Willie was hit by a car and killed at age 20.
Dr Neal’s story is told in Netflix’s Surviving Death, and to this day there’s also been no explanation as to how she survived her heart stopping for so long without brain damage.
Enveloped in love
In 2006, Singaporean Anita Moorjani slipped into a coma four years after being diagnosed with lymphatic cancer. Doctors told her loved ones to prepare for the worst, as the disease had spread throughout her body.
But Anita felt herself float above her body, before she sensed the presence of her late father. He told Anita she had gone as far as she could and had to go back… then the pain of her cancer suddenly vanished.
“All the discomfort had gone,” she recalled.
“I just felt so incredible. And I felt as though I was enveloped in this feeling of just love.”
After 30 hours in the coma, she regained consciousness, her organs started functioning again and remarkably her tumours shrank to the point where she was able to leave hospital just five weeks later.
A portal into heavenly realms
American medic Dr Eben Alexander has written a book, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, about his experience caused by meningitis in 2008.
His form of the infection was so rare it affects only one in 10million people, and his doctors believed he had just a 10% chance of living.
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Instead, he survived without any brain damage after he had a near-death experience, which saw him “rescued by a slowly spinning clear white light associated with a musical melody, that served as a portal up into rich and ultra-real realms”.
In these realms, which he later named ‘The Gateway Valley’, he saw “thousands of beings dancing below with great joy and festivity, angelic choirs emanating chants and swooping golden orbs in the sky above”.
My life raced by me
In 1994, New York orthopaedic surgeon Tony Cicoria was struck by lightning while using a pay phone. Tony felt his body fly backwards – but then, confusingly, he flew forward. Turning round, he saw his body lying on the ground.
Thinking “I’m dead”, he watched a woman start CPR on him and floated up into the sky.
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“Then I was surrounded by a bluish-white light … an enormous feeling of well-being and peace,” he later told a magazine interviewer.
“The highest and lowest points of my life raced by me. I had the perception of accelerating, being drawn up… there was speed and direction. Then, as I was saying to myself, ‘This is the most glorious feeling I have ever had’—slam! I was back.”
I sat on Jesus’s lap
Children have also experienced near-death events.
Annabel Beam had a chronic digestive condition that caused her intense agony. When she was eight, it began to overwhelm her, and she told her mum that she wanted “to go to heaven with Jesus where there is no more pain”.
Days later, the American fell 30ft from a tree branch, bumped her head three times and ‘died’. There, she said she “sat on Jesus’s lap”.
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Annabel later said: “He told me ‘whenever the firefighters get you out, there will be nothing wrong with you,’
“And I asked him if I could stay and he said, ‘No, I have plans you need to fulfil on Earth that you cannot fulfil in heaven.’”
She survived the fall and amazingly was cured of her illness.
Welcome to Hell
Not all near-death experiences are calming – experts say around 15% are negative. In 1981, Veronika-Ulrike Barthell, then 22, was struck by lightning while driving her car.
She floated out of her body, seeing herself sat at the steering wheel with burned hands, before journeying through a tunnel, where she reached a gate that read “welcome to Hell” on it.
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She saw demons, who escorted her to a “waiting room” full of people screaming in pain. She also said she was unable to breathe as the place smelled so bad, there were snakes scattered everywhere and she saw a volcano that people were thrown into.
Then, she met Jesus, who sent her back to her body. When Veronika-Ulrike woke up, she was reportedly screaming “I was dead and in hell” repeatedly.
A taste of heaven
Colton Burpo, from Nebraska in the US, was aged just three when he was rushed into surgery for severe appendicitis. During the emergency surgery, he ‘died’ and left his body, floating up to heaven.
There he met Jesus – who was riding a rainbow-coloured horse, John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary and God, before then encountering dead relatives, who it would have been impossible for him to know about prior to his illness.
These relatives included an unborn sister his mother had miscarried years before and an old man called Pop, who Colton later identified from a photo as being his great-grandfather, who had died 30 years before he was born.
Colton’s dad Todd wrote a book in 2010 about what his son saw. Called Heaven Is for Real, it went on to sell one million copies.
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