Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

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(NDE) An experience wherein the individual comes close to death but revives and describes perceptions of other worlds.

Researchers find that these experiences have specific stages. According to Kenneth Ring, these are experiencing "a feeling of peace," the sensation of "body separation," "entering the darkness," "seeing the light," and "entering the light." Some people describe events in the real world of which they had no knowledge previously, suggesting that some NDEs have a paranormal component. Universal features within NDE accounts suggest that commonalities within conceptions of heaven, hell, and spiritual beings can be attributed, in part, to these experiences.

James McClenon


B. Greyson and C. P. Flynn (eds.), The Near-Death Experience (Springfield, Ill.: Thomas, 1985)

C. R. Lundahl, A Collection of Near-Death Research Readings (Chicago: Nelson-Hall, 1982)

J. McClenon, Wondrous Events (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994)

R. A. Moody, Jr., Life After Life (Atlanta: Mockingbird, 1975)

K. Osis and E. Haraldsson, At the Hour of Death (New York: Avon, 1977)

K. Ring, Life at Death (New York: Coward, McCann and Geoghegan, 1980)

K. Ring, Heading Toward Omega (New York: Morrow, 1984)

M. Sabom, Recollections of Death (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982).

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