Scientists think they’ve solved the mystery of dying and what happens to you right before that moment. Neurologist Dr Cameron Shaw dissected a woman’s brain to find out what happened immediately before she died.
Our brains continue to work for 10 minutes after death, so what actually happens to you right before you die?
We lose our sense of self:
The brains blood supply comes from underneath, so the brain “tends to die from the top down, claiming our most human characteristics first,” Dr Cameron said.
“Our sense of self, our sense of humour, our ability to think ahead — that stuff all goes within the first 10 to 20 seconds.
“Then, as the wave of blood-starved brain cells spread out, our memories and language centres short out, until we’re left with just a core.”
Do we see light when we die?
There is no proof of life after death but many people claim to have seen light at the end of the tunnel when they’ve died (and been resuscitated obviously)
The scientific reason for this is, “We know from experience tunnel vision emerges abruptly when you suddenly lose blood supply to the brain,” Dr Cameron said.
“The first thing you notice in fainting is the narrowing of vision, followed by blackness.
“You could argue that’s the way in which death would progress as well because the same mechanisms are in place and it’s an interruption of blood flow to the brain.”
Do out of body experiences exist?
Cameron claims the out of body experience is a trick of the mind.
“I had a neuroscience instructor who had an out-of-body, near-death experience,” Dr Cameron told VICE.
“They were trying to revive him and he witnessed that as a disconnected person.
“He was brought back and described that circumstance to others… but none of that actually happened.
“The brain can create a visual world around you that resembles something close to reality that isn’t reality, because you’re actually blind.”
Does your life flash before your eyes?
The last thing you think about before dying is moments in your life. Seven people (who’d had near death experiences) were examined at the Hadassah University in Jerusalem and were all found to have seen intense experiences right before they died. You don’t see things from birth, they’re just random memories and people who’ve experienced it say it’s surprising how many memories can be packed into such a short period of time.
“It was like being there for centuries,” one woman explained.
“It all happened at once, or some experiences within my near-death experience were going on at the same time as others, though my human mind separated them into different events.”
Another person claimed they were able to personally experience the pain their friends and family had felt in their lives.
They added: “I was allowed to see that part of them and feel for myself what they felt.”
Some people who have clinically died and been brought back have shared their experiences on Reddit.
Juninikun wrote: “About twenty years ago, I purposefully OD on alot of meds.
“I’m not sure if I died during my sleep or what, but I remember being in hell.
“The devil was a giant fire ant walking on lava…which is strange because I was never really afraid of ants except for a time when I was like 5 years old and fell in a fire ant bed and was in the ER for shock.
“I’ve only shared that memory with three or four people in my life.
“I think it would scare most people to think I know I’m going to hell [because] I now know there is an afterlife.”
Brendos1er wrote: “The accident completely shattered his helmet (and his skull). Lots of internal bleeding, massive swelling and fluid build up. He technically died at the scene but paramedics were able to revive him. He was dead for 10 minutes and was comatose for another 6 months.
“Dad’s account of the time of his death was walking on a beach where he grew up with his Grandmother.
“He recounts that while walking, she gave him a warning that the life he was leading would lead him somewhere dark, and that he wouldn’t have a second chance if he didn’t change now.
“Since his recovery, Dad is now a devout Christian and has completely changed who he was. He has gone from being very self-focused to very outwardly focused.
“The amount of time he has spent with us kids, and now his grandchild, and the amount of help and support he offers us is insane when I consider who he used to be.”
User iGrope stated that he was left with psychic abilities after he died and came back.
He wrote: “I thankfully have a pacemaker now but for about a year of my life I went into full blown cardiac arrest once a month. Depending on how fast they were to respond they would use chemicals or paddles to revive me. Each of those feels different coming back but the leaving always felt the same.
The first thing that happens is my vision starts to go, peripherals first narrowing into tunnel vision, then greening out before going black. At this point I can still hear, and if I am standing up I start to go down.
“It feels like my body is swaying back and forth, like I am rolling in the waves of the ocean. But I have been told I’m not actually moving during this time. My brain is still functioning and I can think things like ‘oh shit not again’ or ‘try to get a grip.’
“Then I can hear my heart beat in my ears louder and louder until it starts to slow down, then I listen to it slow down until I lose my hearing completely.”
He then added that the sensation is akin to being “crushed to death by an elephant on my chest… I just want to give into it. To make it go away anyway I can.
“I am being crushed to death and I know it but there isn’t anything I can do about it.”