Most of us have opinions about what happens after death. Maybe you believe that death is the end and nothing happens after. Or perhaps you think death is just the beginning of a new life.
No matter what you think, death is a mysterious barrier nobody crosses and returns from. Or do they? Some people have been pronounced dead by doctors and mysteriously returned to life with no medical explanation. When the dead become the living again, they often come back with vivid memories of what happened while they were "gone."
What happened to them when they crossed over? Read their stories below:
Life After Suicide
In January 1991, Angie Fenimore committed suicide. The first thing she remembers is hearing a humming noise that got louder and louder. Angie said the whole "life flashes before your eyes" thing is real. She saw every event in her life happen and experienced it "from all points of view and all points of understanding." Angie said: "I knew exactly how each person felt who had ever interacted with me."
She was transported to a place of darkness where there were a lot of people standing with no expressions.
Angie knew instinctively those were other people who'd committed suicide like she did. None of the people would talk to her. They were too miserable and empty. She describes this "purgatory" as the most isolated feeling she'd ever experienced.
A great light appeared and a voice asked: "Is this what you really want? Don't you know that this is the worst thing you could have done?"
Angie experienced what she says is the "love of God" as she saw what her suicide would do to her family. She decided she wanted to live, and woke up on her couch.
There And Back Again
In her book Glimpsing Heaven, journalist Judy Bachrach told the story of Tony Cicoria, a neurosurgeon from New York. While on a family picnic, he go on the phone with his mother. Suddenly, a lightning bolt struck the phone next to his ear.
Tony said he knew he had died because he saw his mother-in-law screaming at him, but she couldn't hear him scream back at her.
Unconstrained by the laws of physics, Tony floated up steps, flew through buildings, and went through walls. At one point, he "saw his little kids getting their faces painted." It was then he felt a pressure on his chest, and he came back to life. He was disappointed though, because he wanted to stay dead.
A Hellish Place
Matthew Botsford was struck with an errant bullet when two angry customers began firing their guns at the exterior of an Atlantic restaurant. As the bullet entered his head, Botsford describes the pain as a "hot hypodermic needle" through your head.
During the 27 days he was in a coma, he remembers terrible things. He says he felt a loneliness like none felt on earth and being chained above a pit full of hot lava. Creatures came to torment him and remind him of his past mistakes.
Finally, he saw a huge hand come towards him. "It dropped this great white light, and I heard the most magnificent music, angelic choir; I love music but it was nothing like I heard before," Botsford said.
He heard a voice say: "It's not your time," and he woke up.
TheDeadManWalks on Reddit
A Reddit user reported his trip to the other side when he had fatal complications with chemotherapy. He likened death to the feeling of hitting the snooze button on an alarm.
He wrote: "The worst part of it all, looking back, is how peaceful it can seem. When I started vomiting blood, I went into shock. Hitting the wall to get my mums attention was a subconscious thing, the rest of me just… stopped caring. When the doctors were trying to save my life, I just wanted to black out again. I didn’t want the lights to hurt my eyes and the doctors to hurt the rest of me any more, the unconsciousness seemed easier. And that’s how it felt when I was in the ICU for a few weeks after that, doped up on ketamine and slipping in and out of life. Being asleep was easy, being awake meant more pain and less dignity.
"So if you want to know what it’s like to be that close to death, it’s tempting. It’s like wanting to hit the snooze button on your alarm at 7am. And maybe you do hit it once or twice but then you remember that you have work or school and that sleep can wait because you’ve still got s**t to do.”
Back from Clinically Dead
Connie Davis had a blood clot in her lung, which caused her heart to stop beating. For two hours, nurses and doctors performed CPR, but she was pronounced dead. When her family came to pray over her body, Connie began to squeeze her husband's hand. The doctors were dumbfounded - anyone who has no pulse for hours should be brain dead.
Connie recovered and told her family what she saw and heard while she was dead. "I didnt hear them say, 'She's dead,'" said Connie, "but I did hear them say, 'This looks bad. Shes not going to make it.'"
She began praying to God and asking for forgiveness, and remembers seeing doctors work on her from "outside her body." She saw her form on the hospital bed "shaking and foaming at the mouth." Her husband later told her that's exactly what happened.
@r00tdude on Reddit
Although many people who "come back from the dead" have some awareness of what happened during that time, one Reddit user claims to have died and experienced something quite different.
After surgery, he claims to have died and experienced absolute nothingness.
“I would describe it as when you take a nap," he wrote. "A short nap with no dream, you wake up and it feels like you’ve been sleeping a long time, when in reality it’s only been about 15 minutes.
“Also, I was extremely exhausted when I “came back to life”. It felt like I had just completely used up all the energy I had in my body.”
“I saw absolutely nothing. No dreams, no light, nothing. Imagine just black nothingness and that’s what I experienced,” he says.
Far from being terrifying, he describes the nothingness as "the greatest peace you will ever find."
Into the Fog
Howard Storm got a hole in his stomach and passed into another realm in June 1985. He saw people around his hospital bed but couldn't communicate with them. As they walked, the people went through him as if he was thin air.
A small group of unknown creatures stood by the doorway and invited him through. When Howard walked through, everything became fog and he struggled to keep up with the figures who were leading him.
At first, the creatures were friendly, but they started "pushing and shoving." Before he knew it, they were trying to eat him. Just as he thought there was no escape, Howard got a feeling he should pray, even though he was an atheist. He didn't know how, but said the parts of the "Our Father" he knew. Bright beings visited him and he gradually faded back to real life.
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