In our last post, we looked at Dr. Kenneth Ring’s studies of the near death experiences of individuals born blind. Now we’ll take a look at the data found in Moody’s, Ring’s, and van Lommel’s studies and see how they all compare.

In 1978, Dr. Raymond Moody wrote his first study of near death experiences entitled Life After Life. It was based on more than 100 case studies, but left several questions unanswered while revealing the need for a more sophisticated longitudinal study.

near death experiences science

Between 1978 and 1988, he completed that study after interviewing more than 1,000 patients who had had a near-death experience.  He noticed that patients having near-death experiences reported having one or more of the following nine characteristics (seven of which seem to be unique to NDEs):

  1. A sense of being dead
  2. Peace and painlessness
  3. The tunnel experience
  4. People of light
  5. The Being of Light
  6. The life review
  7. Rising rapidly into the heavens
  8. Reluctance to return
  9. Out of body experiences/different time and place.

Moody’s findings closely correlate with Ring’s and van Lommel’s.  Ring divides his study into five stages of near-death experiences, while van Lommel divides his findings into ten features of near-death experiences.  Ring’s stages are as follows:

  1. Peace 60%
  2. Bodily separation 37%
  3. Darkness/tunnel 23%
  4. Light/beings of light 16%
  5. Inner setting/paradise 10%

Notice the correlation with van Lommel’s features:

  • Awareness of being dead: 50% — (not reported by Ring)
  • Positive emotions: 56% — (compared to Ring’s 60% for what he describes as “peace”)
  • Out of body experience: 24% — (compared with 37% in Ring’s study)
  • Moving through a tunnel: 31% — (compared with 23% in Ring’s study)
  • Communication with light: 23% — (compared with 16% in Ring’s study)
  • Observation of colors: 23% — (not reported by Ring)
  • Observation of a celestial landscape: 29% — (compared with 10% in Ring’s study)
  • Meeting with deceased persons: 32% — (not reported by Ring, but reported by Moody)
  • Life review: 13% — (not reported by Ring)
  • Presence of border: 8% — (not reported by Ring)

Evidently, the larger, more longitudinal study of Dutch patients experienced the tunnel, being/beings of light, and celestial landscapes more often than the smaller, less longitudinal, American group; while the American group experienced out-of-body survival more often.

The differences in the data may be explained by the fact that most patients only experienced some of the above-mentioned features of near death experiences.

In our next post, we’ll reference Dr. Janice Holden, and her assessment of 39 studies on near-death experiences to further verify our hypotheses made on the topic thus far.

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