Reality Checking—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2017
The wide-spread incidence of NDEs and OBEs:
Evidence of Consciousness outside of the physical body?
by: Brent Raynes
Recently, a dear friend of my wife's from way back in third grade slipped into a coma. She was just diagnosed with liver and gallbladder cancer not more than three weeks earlier. Her boyfriend of some 17 years was shaken, of course, and when I learned that he hadn't had anything to eat in some ten hours (he has a diabetic condition) I offered to take him somewhere to get a bite and to talk. As we sat down and had a snack, we naturally talked about his fiance's condition. He was raised in a family with strong Christian values and said that he had been doing a lot of praying, along with some crying (in fact, he spoke of a nurse who had found him crying and thoughtfully joined with him in a prayer). He said he was hoping and praying for a miracle from God, hope against hope that his fiance would recover from her dire terminal condition. I told him that would certainly be wonderful, but that the reality of the situation was very dire looking and that he would need to be psychologically prepared and ready for what everything medical people were diagnostically telling us lay ahead.
Then I told him about what I had read, and people I had spoken with personally, in situations of what are known as NDEs (near-death experiences), even some of the scientists and researchers I had been in contact with who were studying such matters, and some who were looking at quantum physics as possibly helping to eventually explain and even prove that consciousness could exist outside of the brain and physical body.
He seemed to become excited at this point and recalled an experience that he himself, he explained, had had back sometime in the early 1990s, when he was in his 30s. He had a bad motorcycle wreck and was in the hospital on an examination table when he suddenly and unexpectedly found himself up around the ceiling looking down at his own body below. Thinking that he was perhaps dying or already dead, he began praying to God. At one point, he asked if he was dying. He heard a voice say something like, “Lo, I am with you even to the end of the world.” He felt “as light as a feather,” he explained. He drifted back down and re-entered his body.
How many people have kept such powerful and often life-changing experiences to themselves? In Dr. Robert Davis' newly released book Life After Death [see review in this issue, and listen to our audio interview with him as well] he provides much intriguing information and statistics. For example, the occurrence of an NDE reportedly falls within a 10 to 15 percent range in such life-threatening instances, and it has been estimated that a staggering 200,000 people a year in the United States may experience it. The OBE (out of body experience) is a reported component of some 60 percent of NDEs. In these OBEs the experience is very vivid, very real, and doesn't resemble a dream. Many aren't aware of being outside their body until they happen to catch sight of their body “down there,” as happened in the story just cited.
A person may undergo an OBE without having an NDE. It may occur unexpectedly and spontaneously while relaxing or meditating, while some people claim to have learned how to consciously project their “astral” consciousness from their bodies. Dr. Davis cites one estimate that approximately 10 percent of the general population may have had an OBE.
Dr. Davis points out that one of the most compelling NDE cases of what is called veridical evidence, which is when an NDEer provides testimony of perceiving things beyond the normal scope of his or her physical senses, was reported by a cardiologist named Michael Sabom. In this case, during the time that a patient's heartbeat and brain activity was stopped by a machine she was connected to, in order to remove a brain aneurysm, the patient, in a described OBE state, later provided detailed and accurate descriptions of unique surgical instruments used, what nurses said to the doctors during the operation, and the procedures that were being performed – all while clinically brain dead!
I recently discussed with Dr. Barbara Mango, who is an author and researcher who has been recently part of a collaborative effort with over 20 other authors to produce a book entitled The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences [listen to our interview also in this issue], and I learned of the things that her own dying father had been describing to her last year shortly before his passing. Just a few weeks before his transition, he told her how earlier that morning he and a “glowing being” had hovered above the foot of his bed together and how he was “looking down at myself on the bed.” He had, Barbara stated, claimed to have encountered “multiple beings,” of white/golden illumination, shimmery in appearance. “He kept saying they were waiting for him,” she added. “He was so comforted by this, and had such a look of peace and love.” Barbara described some dramatic effects, in particular his unexpected change from being an athiest to suddenly being a believer.
Her father in a hospice in Florida, Barbara was sad to have to leave for her home in Connecticut, but before she did something quite interesting happened. “Before her shift was over, the night nurse grabbed my arm,” Barbara stated. “In the middle of the night my father awoke and insisted that she play a particularly beautiful hymn, one that she had never before heard. She found the song on her cell phone and played it for my father. He rarely sings and as far as I know, doesn't know the words to any hymn nor religious song. Yet, he placed his weak and trembling hands in a prayer position, and while looking intently towards the ceiling, sang every word clearly and correctly. Immediately afterwards he saw his name 'written' above him, and was at utter and complete peace. The 'beings' were waiting for him! The nurse said, 'I knew there was a purpose why I was chosen to come to this house tonight. It was the most peaceful, beautiful evening I've ever had in my 35 years of hospice work. The energy in the room was so serene it was palpable.'”
In a study done by one Dean Shiels there were no less than 67 indigenous societies on every continent of this planet that had traditions of out-of-body flight. Thus there is further historical evidence in a belief and little doubt past experiences with this phenomenon that fueled such a belief system.
Patricia Wingate – Gone but not forgotten
Patricia Wingate's daughter Layla recently informed me via Facebook messenger of her mother's passing earlier this year (September 7, 1956-March 19, 2017). I certainly hated to hear this. I had lost touch with the family a few years back. Patricia had shared in years past her fascinating firsthand desciptions of UFO, alien, and assorted paranormal experiences with myself and other researchers, most notably Don Worley and Ann Druffel.
Back in 1997, my wife Joan and I visited Patsy and her family and heard many fascinating stories, including this phantom church caper that involved both Patsy and Layla. I published their story in the Fall 1997 issue (#40) of this magazine, back when we were a print publication. It was a pretty unique account. Once again, in memory of an experiencer I saw also as a dear friend, and also because it's a very interesting story, here it is:
A Phantom Church
Occasionally, people do describe seeing sights from previous time periods. One of the most spectacular examples that I have come across I came across quite recently. In fact, on Friday afternoon, July 24, my wife Joan and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Patsy and Larry Wingate and their three children, Cory, Patrick, and Layla. They live in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, a few miles outside of Knoxville.
About five years ago, after moving to the area from North Carolina, Patsy decided to drive by where she had grown up. Her daughter Layla accompanied her. “I took the Asbury Cemetery Road,” Patsy said. “I hadn't really thought of that church since I lived there and I had forgotten that it was even there. But...there it sit, that beautiful old church. And what was funny about it was that when you looked at it it always looked like it was surrounded in mist, like a morning mist.”
Patsy and her now teenaged daughter Layla continued to drive down this road every three or four months for some five years. The church was always there. But then Patsy recalls: “Well, one day, about three or four months ago we drove by there and the church is gone! I thought, 'Oh God, what happened to the church?” Initially, Patsy thought that the church must have burned down, but then she noticed that the hillside there was a healthy grassy green with no signs of a recent fire. Where the church had stood there were now four white columns supporting a small roof, and underneath the roof and between the columns was a church bell.
“Well, we went home and didn't stop the first time,” Patsy explained. But then one of Layla's friends suggested that they should. “So we went down there and we got out and we went up there on the spot and there on the ground it say – where it burned August of 1981. And we'd been seeing this – and you could see it just as plain as day.”
Facing the road there is a stone marker about three feet tall that explains about the church. The church was a historic one. Called the Lebanon Presbyterian Church, it was apparently the site of the first church of Knoxville. Interestingly, when Patsy, Layla, and Layla's friend had gone back and walked around the site, that marker wasn't there. Patsy offered, “Now whatever took it away must have realized the stone was supposed to be there and they put it back.”
Patsy and Layla Wingate
Layla Wingate's drawing of the phantom chruch
Historic marker at the burned church site
Patricia Wingate's drawing of the phantom church