The “tunnel of light” by which the dying persons reportedly travel to the afterlife, the cherubs and other heavenly creatures who welcome them on the other side are mere hallucinations.
“About 60 percent of all people who were taken to an intensive care unit spent some time in a state of “near death,” says Oleg Vasiliev, doctor of highest category, staff member of the Institute of Resuscitation Studies of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences. “After being brought back to life, they told stories about the bright light they were taken to as if by a fast elevator, the faces of their deceased loved ones they saw in the ‘afterlife’, some even said that they had been welcomed by Jesus Christ. However, the latest studies show that all those visions stem from the physiological processes that occur in the damaged brain of a patient.
First, the state is caused by oxygen deficiency, which has an impact on the brain and trigger hallucinations. Secondly, the release of endorphins results in a “sensation of unearthly calm” mentioned by the majority of patients. The endorphins are natural sedative agents produced by the body following an injury or stressful experience. Third, a rare ophthalmologic phenomenon can explain the “tunnel effect.” The person sees only the images created by the optic system regardless of signals entering the retina. The phenomenon is also stress-related,” says Dr. Vasiliev.
The state of “near death” was also reported by persons who were not dying at the time e.g. women during labor and people tormented by nightmares. Robert Baker, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky, arrived at the following conclusion: “The human brain responds accordingly when subjected to unusual mental and physical stress. It responds in a neurochemical way by producing defensive hallucinations, which fit in nicely in our religious beliefs, folklore, our hopes and fears.”
The report on a real state of “near death” that can be induced in a healthy person by injecting him with 50-100 ml of ketamin, an anesthetic, was probably the most killing argument to back the physiological theory.
“Therefore, the accounts of those who returned from the “other side” can’t be held as evidence of life after death,” sums up Dc. Vasiliev. As for the ketamin theory, it may as well explain the experiences relayed by those who claimed to exit their bodies,” adds he.
Translated by Guerman Grachev