Hellish Near-Death Experiences are Frighteningly Real

HP asks: “Why are near-death experiences always the same stories about being embraced by a loving light? Are any of these experiences about hell?”

Yes! Researchers, even those who promote the New Age version of these experiences, say one in every five near-death experiences (NDEs) are distressing. The reason we never hear about them is because people who experience a distressing NDE are reluctant to talk about it and may even hide from the experience altogether.

A research paper written by Nancy Evans Bush, MA, President Emerita of the International Association for Near Death Studies(IANDS), and Bruce Greyson, MD, a co-founder of the IANDS and a Professor of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, outlines three types of distressing NDEs that they have encountered in their research: inverse, void, and hellish.

Inverse NDEs are those that feature elements present in pleasurable NDEs but are perceived in a negative way. For example, a woman in childbirth felt her spirit separate from her body and fly into space where she found herself on a collision course with a great ball of light. She was terrified as the light came right at her, then engulfed her.

Another woman who collapsed from hyperthermia saw her whole life flash before her eyes and experienced “a great deal of depression.”

Void NDEs are those where the person experiences a void or “vast emptiness” that leaves them feeling lonely and isolated. In one case, a woman found herself flying out of the hospital into an empty abyss where she was surrounded by entities who informed her that she never existed and had just “imagined” her life. She was then left alone in space.

Another woman who tried to kill herself told the researchers: “I was being drawn into this dark abyss, or tunnel, or void…. I was not aware of my body as I know it…. I was terrified. I felt terror. I had expected nothingness; I expected the big sleep; I expected oblivion; and I found now that I was going to another plane … and it frightened me. I wanted nothingness, but this force was pulling me somewhere I didn’t want to go, but I never got beyond the fog.”

Hellish NDEs are those in which the person perceives themselves to be in a hellish environment.

For example, a woman reported that in her NDE, she found herself “being escorted through a frighteningly desolate landscape and saw a group of wandering spirits. They looked lost and in pain, but her guide indicated she was not allowed to help them.”

A particularly ghoulish NDE occurred to an atheistic professor who experienced malevolent beings who maliciously pinched him and then tore him apart.

Another woman reported an NDE that involved “horrific beings with gray gelatinous appendages grasping and clawing at me. The sounds of their guttural moaning and the indescribable stench still remain 41 years later. There was no benign Being of Light, no life video, nothing beautiful or pleasant.”

Researchers also recount an NDE experienced by a woman who attempted suicide and found herself in a cold, dark, watery environment. “When I reached the bottom, it resembled the entrance to a cave, with what looked like webs hanging…. I heard cries, wails, moans, and the gnashing of teeth. I saw these beings that resembled humans, with the shape of a head and body, but they were ugly and grotesque…. They were frightening and sounded like they were tormented, in agony.”

Researchers document three types of reactions to these NDEs: the turnaround, reductionism, and the long haul.

In the turnaround, “the terrifying NDE is interpreted as a warning about unwise or wrong behaviors, and to turn one’s life around.”

Researchers found that movement toward a dogmatic religious community is common in this group. They quote a clinical social worker named Kimberly Clark Sharp who observed, “All the people I know who have had negative experiences have become Bible-based Christians…. They might express it in various sects. But they all feel that they have come back from an awful situation and have a second chance.”

This was the response of the atheist professor who left his university and entered the seminary after his hellish NDE. Another man gave up a life of drugs, entered a Bible college, then dedicated my life to the most high God Jehovah.”

The reductionist response is a tendency to downplay the NDE, to treat it as if it didn’t matter and to decide that there are rational reasons for it such as the lack of oxygen to the brain, stress, neural activity, etc.

The long haul response occurs in those people who have difficulty comprehending or integrating terrifying NDEs, the researchers found, and struggle with the implications of the event for years afterward. They record responses from people such as “I had an experience which has remained with me for 29 years…. It has left a horror in my mind and I have never spoken about it until now.” And, “After all these years, the nightmare remains vivid in my mind.”

Some persons confess to struggling with their NDE for 50 years and are still terrified by the mere memory.

They found that people in this particular group are much more likely than others to enter psychotherapy.

Researchers also note that the religious element of their negative NDE is often more of an absence of God. They heard comments such as “I was filled with a sense of absolute terror and of being past the help of anyone, even God.” And “I expected the Lord to be there, but He wasn’t… I called on God and He wasn’t there. That’s what scared me.”

These people also experience a long-lasting fear of death. One man, who had an NDE after being attacked by a hitchhiker, said, “I’ve pondered if I was in that hell, will I go back on my death? Was I sent there for something perhaps I’ll do in the future, or something I did in the past? … I don’t believe in a hell, but it was such a strong experience, there is always that underlying uncertainty and trouble and fear.”

As the above confirms, not all NDEs are blissful encounters with shining lights full of love and compassion. The only reason why these are the more commonly reported is because this field is infested with a New Age philosophy that does not believe in sin or the personification of Satan. This is why there is never a Jesus in the more popular NDE stories, only a “light” that embraces all and never passes any kind of judgment on the person’s behavior.

But as even New Age researcher admit, hellish NDEs are frighteningly real.

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