What is an NDE? PDF Print E-mail


A “Near-Death Experience”, or short “NDE”, is a profound psychological and spiritual experience that normally occurs during intense situations such as clinical death or trauma. Since the term was coined in 1975 by Dr. Raymond Moody to describe experiences by people who had been clinically dead, the term has taken on a much broader meaning after finding that similar and identical experiences happen under very different circumstances such as: illness, intense fear, giving birth, deep prayer, meditation, vision quest, drug induced states, etc.

While some scientists for the sake of making a more solid materialistic argument prefer to look at Near Death Experiences that happen close to physical death, it is clear that there are many paths that lead to the same experience. For this reason, some people prefer to categorize those NDEs that are not triggered by being close to physical death as "Near Death Like Experiences" or "NDLEs". However, a clear ruling on this definition depends on what exactly death is: if life continues - then how can death be a closed category? 

Therefore, not to hold to tightly to one closed category, the NDE is defined by certain universal core experiences that define the NDE with or without being close to death. Some of the most common features are:


- an Out-of-Body Experience

- a sense of being in another realm or dimension

- rapid movement towards what is described as ‘the Light’

- an intense emotional experience of profound: love, joy, peace and unity

- a positive or negative life-review of one’s actions revealing the emotional impact on others

- an experience of total and complete knowledge of all the secrets of the universe

- a point of return to the body


You can watch this video where Dr. Bruce Greyson goes through the core NDE features:






Historically, we find descriptions of experiences similar to the NDE all the way back to Shamanic journeys in pre-historic times and in the Mesopotamian (Babylon) Epic of Gilgamesh dating back to about 2.700 BC. Later in 360 BC we find a very clear description of an NDE in the story of the soldier Er in Plato’s The Republic. While the scientific revolution of the 19th Century did see some reference to the NDE, it was not till Raymond Moody published his Life After Life in 1975 that enough interest in the topic sparked an explosion into mainstream media and thought.

Today, it is estimated that between 8 - 15 million people in the US alone have had an NDE and as the phenomenon becomes more known new testimonies reach higher and higher in the media. After being hit by a road side bomb in Iraq, ABC anchor Bob Woodruf had an NDE, which he revealed live on CNN:







News Letter

Sign up for a Free News Letter with NDE updates, new videos and research. Click on "Create an account" below.