After Death (2023) Movie Script

[musical swirl]
[water drop]
[musical tone]
[music continues]
[doors opening]
Mr. Black: It was
July 18th, 1969.
It was early in the
morning, about 5:30 a.m.
It was a beautiful
day to fly.
No wind to speak of.
So how could
it be better?
We start up the engines.
We were full of fuel.
Everything was fine.
And we started taxiing.
[Engine rumbling]
And then sure enough,
the aircraft
started to climb.
Chuck brought the landing
gear up.
We were accelerating
and climbing
above the runway,
and I think we were about
100 feet above the ground
when I started noticing
that something was wrong.
[intense music boom]
You have one engine
at higher rpm,
another low rpm.
Now that can happen
with an engine failure.
[intense music boom]
And I mean,
I grabbed the chairs
and held on
and looked out
and I saw a bunch
of green grass
and it looked
like a city park
And I thought, well,
worst case scenario,
we've always been trained
to just land in a park.
But the next thing
I noticed was
towering trees
were filling our windshield
[trees hitting the plane]
Chuck grabbed
the flight controls,
and he yanks them all
the way left.
As far as they'll go.
And then he pulls them
all the way back,
against his chest.
[intense music]
[soft music start]
I suddenly found myself
above the crash site,
but unaware
of what I was
looking at or why.
I was not in any pain.
I was not in any fear
or discomfort.
I was just above this
crash site.
[picture click]
I could see an airplane
and I could see a pilot.
First of all, my eyes
went right to one pilot.
This was Gene.
And then I went over
and I saw another pilot
right next to him
five feet away.
And I recognized this
as Chuck.
And while I'm processing
what I'm looking at,
I see a third pilot also
about five feet away.
And this is me.
[low rumbling]
Mr. Burke: Imagine if what
we're living here on this
earth is really being
lived on a flat, black
and white
painting on a wall,
and death is separation.
So when we die, our
spirit separates
from our physical body.
[music and rumbling]
You die and
you're ripped off
that flat,
black and white
two-dimensional painting
your brought out into a
three-dimensional room
of color all around you.
[building music
and rumbling]
You're experiencing things
you've never
experienced before,
even though you can
see your world
is contained
within this world,
then imagine
you're put back into
that flat,
black and white painting,
and you have to describe
three dimensions of color
in two-dimensional
black and white terms.
How would you do it?
[dramatic music]
[music continues]
Dr. Sabom: Medically,
the point of death
cannot be defined.
What we do know is there
is a process of dying
during which I feel the
experience occurs.
75% of the people in that
first study
have had a documented
cardiac arrest.
Part of the
experience is they
said they floated up
out of their body
and they can see
what was going on
during the resuscitation.
I felt that myself,
as a cardiologist
could pick that apart.
[button click, reel stops]
Mr. Burke: This is clinical
death as we know it,
for a few minutes,
sometimes 30 minutes,
sometimes hours.
And yet modern medicine
or the miraculous,
I don't know,
resuscitated them
and they were able
to come back
and talk about it.
You may think
you've died.
Dr. Sabom: All definitions,
and legally
state that once you go
across that red line,
i.e. you die,
you don't come back.
And I like to say doctors
not resurrect
their patients.
[low music]
Mr. Burke: I was actually
an agnostic.
I didn't know if I
believed there was a God.
I thought, I don't
know if I believe
there's a heaven or not,
but my dad was
dying of cancer
and someone gave him
the very first research
on what's now called
near-death experiences.
And I saw it
on his nightstand,
picked it up
and read it in one night.
And that just
got me curious.
So I kind of opened my
my eyes, my mind,
and I started
to explore from there.
[pages turning]
I found it fascinating,
kind of, the train
of how this
whole near-death
experience phenomenon
started to get
traction in America.
Dr. George Ritchie
was the first one
to really talk
publicly about this.
He was actually
at Camp Barkeley
getting ready to go
fight in World War II.
Joan Rivers: What happened
during those 9 minutes?
What did you see?
What happened?
Dr. Ritchie: I met
the Christ
because I was told
to stand up, you are
in the presence
of the Son of God.
He came into my room
and he conducted me
through four different
realms of life
after death.
Life really is
forever. We don't die.
Death is nothing
more than just a gateway
through which we go.
Mr. Burke: Dr. Moody
actually heard him lecture
at the University
of Virginia,
where he was
a visiting professor
and heard him talk about
this near-death
Dr. Moody: In 1969,
I became a professor
of philosophy
at East
Carolina University
and in teaching
courses on Plato.
I began to hear these
from my students
and also from other
faculty members.
Dr. Sabom: I was
brought into this
field kicking
and screaming.
I was at the University
of Florida in Gainesville
with Sarah Kreissinger
who was a psychiatric,
social worker
at the hospital
I was working at.
And she had picked up
Raymond Moody's book
Life After Life,
about two months
after it was
initially published.
She read it.
She gave it to me.
She asked me
what I thought.
Anchor: This is Dr. Raymond
noted psychiatrist,
lecturer, and researcher.
He is perhaps best
known as the author
of the groundbreaking
of the near-death
The bestselling book,
Life After Life.
It has sold upwards
of 15 million copies,
and has been printed in
14 different languages.
Dr. Moody: They tell us,
first of all,
that they seem,
from their point of view,
to leave
their physical bodies
to float up above the
scene of the resuscitation
and to watch the events
going on down below.
They tell us that they go
through a narrow
passageway or a tunnel
into an
incredibly brilliant
and warm and loving light
Dr. Sabom: Hogwash.
I never heard
these experiences before.
I went into the hospital
asking some of the
older physicians,
"Hey, you ever heard
a patient say this?"
So I was very skeptical
that these things
were even occurring.
And if they were
they were either
or delusions or whatever.
[music continues]
In cardiology, we're about
scientific studies.
So I asked a few people
who had been resuscitated,
and the third patient
I talked to had
an experience
similar to what
Moody talked
about in his book,
Life After Life.
So, Sarah and I said,
Well, maybe we ought
to look into this further.
[typewriter clicks]
We devised a
scientific protocol
to interview
these people.
We tape recorded
the interviews.
We took down
their background data,
the demographics,
etc.. And...
this went
on for five years.
First of all,
I'd get permission
to tape record it
and then say,
okay, go...
Dr. Sabom: These
people say,
"I've never told anybody
about this, doc.
And by the way, I'm
the only one
that's ever had this."
So the near-death
experience at that time,
and that's about 45 years
ago was not well known.
And so these people
were sort of
coming up
with it on their own,
and they were suspicious
of me asking the questions,
which to me
lent credibility to what
they were telling me.
Dr. Moody: Many of them
said, for example,
that they had tried to tell
their doctor about it
or a minister about it and
that they were dismissed.
And in those initial years,
the people that I talked
with were just very happy
that at last somebody
would listen to them.
Mr. Storm: I started at
Northern Kentucky University
in 1972.
I was hired as an assistant
professor and I was
offered a promotion
to full professor
at the age of 25, and
I was also given tenure
my third year.
Seven students, myself
and my wife
toured Amsterdam
and then went up
to Denmark.
Spent a few days there,
went to Sweden for a day.
And last week, it was
a three week trip,
and our last week,
was a week in Paris.
It was an art tour, it was,
pretty much all museums.
[music continues]
On that Saturday morning,
June 1, 1985,
and I had the most acute
pain I'd ever
experienced in my life
in the center of
my abdomen. Right there.
It was terrifying
because it
it just came from
And I never experienced
such acute pain.
I mean, this was like
the kind of pain
that blows
the top of your head off.
A doctor
came very quickly,
got me up
off the floor,
with a great deal of
difficulty because
I couldn't move.
He knew exactly
what was wrong.
and told me that I
had a perforation
of the duodenum.
Which means I had a hole
go through my
small stomach.
What was happening
was the hydrochloric acid
and the enzymes
and the bacteria
in everything
are now migrating, leaking
into my abdominal cavity.
To put it in crude terms.
I was digesting myself,
on the inside.
[liquid explosion]
Without exaggeration,
what it felt like
was fire.
[fire explosion]
my wife riding alongside me
in the back of
the ambulance
as we traveled
70, 80 miles an hour
through the streets
of Paris to the big
city hospital
[emergency sirens]
they confirmed basically,
if I didn't have the
surgery in an hour,
I would die.
[squeaky wheel]
So they sent me
to the surgical hospital.
And because it was
the weekend,
there was no doctor
No surgeon
available at the hospital
they sent me to.
So I was put in a room.
[moaning and yelling]
I begged, I screamed,
I yelled,
[intense music]
and my wife begged
and yelled and screamed,
Beverly: Nurse, can someone
please come in here?
[intense music]
Mr. Storm: Sorry.
We need a doctor
to prescribe something
Beverly: Can you please talk
to someone who can help us?
There has to be somebody,
how can there not be
someone here?
[intense music]
Mr. Storm: There I
was for 10 hours.
About once an hour,
the nurse would come in
and ask how I was doing,
and I would tell her in
French and English
that I was dying and
shrug their shoulders
and walk away.
I wasn't in fear.
I was in terror
Because I was 38 years old,
very successful
in my career
at the university,
you know, wife and two
kids, nice house, two cars.
The thing
that kept going through
my mind is this
can't be happening.
This can't be happening.
This can't be happening.
[clock ticking]
People ask me,
How do you know
you were dying?
It's like the stupidest
question in the world
when you're dying,
you know it
with every breath.
I felt like I had one more
breath to go.
[women crying and pleading]
Nurse came into the room
at 8:30 that night
and said they were sorry,
but they were
unable to locate a doctor
and they would try
to find one the next day,
which was Sunday.
Well, when she said that,
I was like,
okay, it's over. Done.
You know,
I can't do this anymore.
You know, I'm exhausted.
And I looked
at her [Beverly],
and it was horrible to
see her crying like that.
And I closed my eyes and
stopped trying to breathe.
And I went unconscious.
[flat-line tone]
I was an atheist,
and I knew that
when you die,
it's just over.
It's like the big nothing,
you know, void the end.
[music building]
Mr. Black: The official
impact speed recorded
by the National
Transportation Safety Board
was 135 miles an hour.
We impacted
right below the cockpit
with that impact speed.
It just exploded
the cockpit into...
We just,
everything was opened up.
We hit that dome and fell,
right down to the ground.
I'm told by the curator
of the mausoleum,
that the mausoleum
was six stories,
seven stories tall.
And we slammed
right into the top of it.
I can remember today
as well as I could five
years ago, ten years ago.
You realize
that you are not
a body.
I believe it's
what happens to everyone
when they die.
Mr. Storm: I awoke
from unconsciousness
standing there
next to the bed,
feeling better than I ever
felt before in my life.
My vision
was greatly increased.
Instead of seeing 106
degrees, I could see
almost 360 degrees.
My depth of field
was total.
When I looked at something
close, I, everything
far was in focus.
Being an artist and being
a visual person, not much.
The first thing I was like,
Wow, I've never been able
to see like this.
Then I realized I
could hear,
smell, taste, touch, everything.
I could feel
all the little nuances
in the cold linoleum floor.
I could hear the buzzing
of the fluorescent lights
in the ceiling
really loudly.
All of my senses were
greatly, greatly enhanced.
Mr. Black: I'm looking
down and I'm realizing
there's my body,
but I'm up here.
I can't be dead because
I've never felt more alive.
[music and waves]
I was not only alive,
I was free.
And I didn't understand
But I realized then, okay,
I am a spirit.
I have a soul.
And I used to live
in that body.
I was pressed up against
the instrument panel
and was motionless.
It was 16 minutes
before the fire department
got there.
The paramedics
got there right after
[emergency sirens]
they put me and Chuck
in the same ambulance.
And I have tremendous
strong memories
that I'm watching my body
and Chuck and I'm chasing
that ambulance as it goes
through the streets.
I have no idea
how to explain
a lot of the things
we're talking about.
But chasing that ambulance
without really any effort.
How did I do that?
I don't know.
[music and sirens]
I wasn't worried.
I wasn't in pain.
I wasn't concerned really.
I was questioning,
what is this all about
Dr. Long: Now, while no two
near-death experiences
are the same,
they have a very consistent
pattern of elements
or what occurs
during the near-death
That typically occur in
a very consistent process.
[backround conversation]
[medical equipment beeping]
The very first thing that
happens is that close
brush with death.
They're unconscious.
They may be clinically dead
with absent heartbeat,
absent breathing.
At that time when
they shouldn't
have any experience at
all, they do.
Often the first thing
that happens is
what's called
an out-of-body experience.
Mr. Burke: People leave
their bodies.
They're, they're watching
the resuscitation
many times, but they say
they still have
a spiritual body.
Dr. Long: From that
vantage point,
they can see ongoing
earthly events
and often later describe
frantic efforts
at their own resuscitation.
[backround conversation]
[medical equipment sounds]
Mr. Burke: They move out
of that place
of their resuscitation,
and they come to a place
of exquisite beauty.
- Dr. Sabom:
- They very commonly
see a light at times.
They interpret
that as a religious figure.
Mr. Burke: And this light was
light that is love and life.
It was palpable
and not hard to look at,
but it came out
of everything,
and yet it made everything
The colors,
they say, are far
beyond our color spectrum.
Dr. Long: Music has been
described so beautiful
that they say they've never
heard anything like it.
Nothing like that
is possible on earth.
Dr. Sabom: Deceased
relatives or friends often
come to meet them there.
Mr. Burke: You know, they say
we still have all our memories
our humor,
we're the same people.
But we meet again
on the other side.
Dr. Sabom: And some of them say,
well, I reached a place where
I felt like
if I went any further,
I wouldn't come back
Dr. Long: At that time,
they may then have
a life review.
They may see part
or all of their prior life.
[breathe sound]
Dr. Sabom: The whole
experience is
very calm,
it's very peaceful.
Some people don't
want to come back.
[music and whooshing]
Mr. Burke: And then many talk
about a God of light
and love
that they experience
in this presence.
This light is brighter
than the sun,
but again, not just light
like we would see
here on earth.
And they feel an
unconditional love
and peace and acceptance
from this God like they've
never experienced before.
[violin music]
- Dr. Long:
- Ultimately, they either
make the choice to return
to the earthly body or
sent back involuntarily.
Mr. Burke: This God almost
always says to them,
Your time is not up yet.
You still have a purpose
on Earth.
Sometimes he asks them,
Do you want to stay
or do you want to go?
Many times he says,
You got to go back.
None of them want to go
Mr. Burke: Not every
single one of
them experiences
all the commonalities.
Some do, some experience
three, four or five,
some ten, 20,
some, all of them.
But those
commonalities overlap.
But there are uniqueness
to each experience.
Like when they encounter
this god of light and love,
each one of them feels like
they are the only
one God loves.
And yet,
they all feel that way.
[click and rolling]
[Historic illustrations
of the afterlife]
Mr. Burke: You know actually,
these near-death
experiences are not new.
Plato wrote in the Republic
a soldier who comes to
on his funeral pyre
and had an experience
like this.
Paul in the New Testament,
who wrote much of
the New Testament,
I believe in
Acts chapter 14,
He's stoned to
death in Lystra
and left for dead.
And then he gets back up
and he talks about
how he had an experience
of going to heaven
Dr. Moody: In the ancient world.
Presumably these
experiences were very rare.
By the time
I started investigating it
in the 60s
and 70s,
the advent
of cardiopulmonary
had greatly increased
the number of people
who had been to the brink
of death and recovered.
So there were
a lot of cases.
Dr. Sabom: Some of them say,
well, I reached a place where
I felt like
if I went any further,
I wouldn't come back.
And I get questioned
about this a lot.
And the question
is, well, is that really
a barrier or not?
And my answer is,
well, I've not been able
to interview
any of them
that didn't come back.
So I assume
that if they do go over
that, it very well may be
a point of no return.
I have no evidence
to suggest that,
except I have no evidence
to refute it either.
[button clicks and
machine starts]
Raymond Moody heard
about our work,
so he called us up
to his house,
along with two
other researchers.
Dr. Moody: And that's when I met
all of these wonderful people
Bruce Grayson and Mike
Sabom and Kenneth Ring.
Dr. Sabom: We got together,
we compared notes
and we said, you know,
we ought to form
a group and share with one
another what we're doing.
And it eventually
turned out to be
what's now known as IANDS
International Association
and Near-Death Studies.
[music and pictures moving]
Mr. Burke: After five years of
doing research, Dr. Sabom
ends up writing
a book convinced that
this really does show that
there is life after death.
But then even more
fascinating, he publishes
in the Journal of the
American Medical
his findings and what
changed his mind.
Dr. Long: I was in my
residency training
and I was going through
a bound journal
looking for a cancer
related article.
And completely by accident,
I found in the title
of an article the
term Near-Death experience.
[music and low rumble]
Dr. Long: Everything I knew as
a doctor said,
This is medically
In this article
all around
the world, were people
having these experiences
while they were unconscious
or even clinically dead
who can't be mystified
by that question
of what happens
after you die?
Dr. Moody: As I've traveled
around the world to China
and Japan and India
and North and South America
and all over Europe,
people all over the world
use the word light,
but they say that it's not
the light that comes
from a light bulb
or from the sun.
But universally
the description is that the
light of complete
compassion and love.
And people also say
that they learned
from their experience
that what we call
death is a transition
into some other reality.
So they
lose their fear of death.
[rolling thunder and raindrops]
Don Piper: The day was
January 18th, 1989,
very chilly by
South Texas standards.
I almost stopped
in a little town
before you cross
all the bridges to get some
some coffee. I didn't.
The people who were
on the highway ahead of me,
she wanted some coffee.
They pulled over.
I drove past them
and they came in behind me,
Dick and Anita,
Anita: It was foggy
and a slight rain.
It was wet
Don: and I knew I would have to
cross some bridges.
[thunder and rain]
It was an old bridge
and it is very narrow.
I'm just really focused
on getting back
to Alvin, Texas,
where I lived.
I was headed back that way
and looking forward
to seeing my family,
which I missed for three
days, especially my wife.
What I didn't know
was that steep
embankment was there.
[gears engaging]
It's like going on a tunnel
because you had this
big metal superstructure
above you,
on both sides of you.
You can see only really
to the end of the bridge
and then
the highway goes up.
So I couldn't see beyond
the end of the bridge.
Out of nowhere, a tractor
trailer truck
hit the car in his lane,
then came over to my lane
and hit me head on.
Anita: When we approached
the bridge,
the first thing on
the right
was this large 18 wheeler,
and then the next
thing on the left,
I believe, was a gray car.
It had a single older
man in it.
Then the next thing
was Don's red car
that was all crushed
and smashed.
So we were only
four vehicles on the bridge
at that point.
Swen Spujt: I was stationed
in Walker
County at the time.
I said,
How does it look for him?
And they said,
"not good at all."
That was, you know, just
something I never forgot.
I mean, was seeing that
it was a miserable,
miserable day.
Don: Traffic is backed
up from miles
in both directions
because at that time
there was the only bridge
across that lake,
in fact, Dick Onarecker.
And Anita
had to leave their car
and walk up on the bridge
to get to where
the accident was.
Anita: Police approached
Dick first and said,
Don't even bother
with that man.
I've already checked him
and he has no pulse.
And then Dick did check,
and he could not
identify any pulse.
Don: You could see from this
wrecking yard picture that
the trajectory of the truck
as it went over.
When the truck hit me,
it literally took
this arm over my shoulder
into the back seat.
The steering wheel
actually went horizontal
and into my chest
My head had banged up
against the metal side
of the interior of the car.
My right leg
was broken at the knee,
but I must have slid on
the seat a little sideways
because it hit
from that angle.
And when it did, it
literally severed my left
leg just above the knee,
and four and a half
inches of the femur
was ejected from the car
and actually never found.
I had been
killed instantly.
My heart was not beating,
so it was not
pumping blood.
I died on the bridge.
[bird song]
Dr. Neal: I'm a board certified
orthopedic spine surgeon
and physicians
spend their entire career
evading death.
We believe that
if we are smart enough,
if we are
well-trained enough,
and if we do a good enough
job that we can control
the outcomes, that we can
control the variables
and we can cheat death.
My husband and I
were avid kayakers.
Kayaking is
both challenging
and exhilarating.
We began to go down
the river.
We went over
the first couple of drops.
It was very high flow,
very high
current, strong current.
There is another client
that sort of bobbled
her way past me and
ended up sideways at the
entrance to the chute.
So my only option
was to veer over
and go over the
main part of the waterfall
[water splashing]
and the
front end of my boat
became pinned
[waterfall sounds]
[music intensifying]
and the boat and I
were then
completely submerged under
8 to 10 feet of water.
[waterfall sounds]
I recognized that I was
probably going to drown.
[waterfall sounds]
I would think about
the fact that
I must be dead,
but I didn't feel dead.
I felt more alive
than I've ever felt.
I felt this
incredible experience
like I was just
part of the water.
I felt magnificent, actually.
I knew that
I was being held by Christ
as purely as I know,
I know it sounds crazy,
but it's just
something that
is outside of our language.
Peter Panagore: We went up a
world famous climb,
maybe 500 feet,
three pitches up
David Ditchfield: As the train
started pulling out,
I just thought, This is it.
I'm going to die.
Jeremain: I took a corner
to a 90 miles
an hour, flipped over,
and it landed on the top.
All I remember seeing was a
big white, white light.
Kristen: The knife had gone all
the way through my liver.
I had a punctured lung and
I started feeling myself
leave my body.
Oprah: You were in the hospital
bed, right?
But you had left your body
and you
Betty Eadie: My body was on
the bed and my spirit ...
Peter: and I could see
in every direction.
Barbara: Up on the ceiling
looking down.
There was this feeling of a
presence. It felt like God
David: Not like this guy
up in the sky.
Anne: And that was God.
I just know it was God
Hila: The meaning of life,
of everything,
Johnnie: It was unlike anything
I've ever experienced.
David: I have no fear of death.'s with total knowledge
and unconditional love...
Hila: It was all the love that
is in the universe.
Kirat: Death is not the end.
It's probably the beginning.
Dean: I looked into his eyes,
It was like
I was looking
at forever inside of him,
and I could see the love
he had for me.
Hillary: You know,
people don't believe you
when you say the story,
but it's just so real.
Dr. Neal: Almost 30 minutes
had gone by.
Enough time had passed
that they had shifted from
a rescue mode to purely
a body recovery mode.
I could see this
bloated purple body
and I never felt alive
and then dead.
I never felt conscious
and unconscious.
I felt conscious
and then more conscious
I felt alive
and then more alive.
Dr. Sabom: I came into this
thing skeptical, mean
I could have very easily
blown this whole thing off.
If you go
to the resuscitation
for 20 minutes
and you've been
without oxygen
for 20 minutes or whatever,
you're going to lose
some neurons,
You're going to
have brain damage.
You may not
live either.
You'll die a
neurologic death
general rule is, the longer
without the oxygen.
Normally, the more brain
damage you're going to have,
and it's progressive
until it's restored.
CBS News: A new study may
provide answers
to the age old question
What happens to our brains
when we die?
Dr. Zemmar: The brain has always
been the most fascinating
and the most interesting
organ to me
because to the world
it is completely
I was working in Vancouver
at the Vancouver
General Hospital.
This was the 87 year
old gentleman.
He came during
the emergency shift
with a bleed between
the brain and the skull.
We call it
a subdural hematoma.
And we decided to operate.
We removed the skull.
We removed the bleeding.
He did fairly well
after the surgery
for about three days.
And then he started
having seizures.
So we went and applied
an EEG to see
where the seizures
are coming from
and how to treat them.
Once we had this applied,
he had a heart
attack and died.
So that left us with
the rare recording
of the human brain
that went from a life
to death.
[flatline tone]
CBS: It's the first ever
recording of a dying human
brain, one that happened
entirely by chance.
We've heard about people
before who have faced
near death experiences.
Describe this moment
where they were
the important moments
in their life
flashed before their head.
Is that
what we're talking about?
Is that what this is?
- Dr.
- Zemmar: From what
this case of
One tells us
all the things
they are consistently
being described
by people who undergo
near-death experience.
These guys have exhibited
these brain waves
that exactly the same ones
we're measuring
when we record the activity
of this patient
30 seconds
before the heart stops
and 30 seconds after
the heart stops beating,
that we found
was quite astonishing.
After searching
and searching,
we had not found anybody
at the time when we wrote
the manuscript
and submitted it
that had full brain
from the dying human brain.
Under acute
clinical environments.
brain waves
are always present
in our brain.
They differ in frequency,
meaning how many times
per second they oscillate.
The high frequency waves
are called gamma waves.
Then the lower ones
we call them
beta, theta,
alpha and delta waves.
Those are slower
frequent oscillations.
We found
an increased interplay
of these oscillatory bands
with each other.
We looked at how this,
for example,
theta waves that are
known for memory recall,
how do they couple
with gamma waves?
And we found an increased
coupling of the
two after a heart
stopped beating.
The brain is a prediction
machine that is designed
for survival.
So we see something,
we interpret the signal,
we generate a response
in all kinds of responses
that the brain generates.
The only one we can measure
right now is movement.
We can't measure
what we call thinking.
Can you measure emotions?
I don't know what
to answer you.
We can't measure
all these things.
We know that the brain
somehow does these things.
We may never understand
what exactly happens.
And maybe that's not the most
important thing either.
If the science
can contribute even
a minute percentage
and can shed light
on the nature
of the human brain dying.
If I could go to
my patients
and I could tell them,
it may be that your loved
one is replaying
some of the memories
of their life.
It somehow
makes things easier.
It tells them
they're not suffering.
That, I think, would help
patients in that
difficult time.
[pages turn]
Kang: Growing up in South Korea.
I grew up in a
Buddhist home.
Ever since the age
of six, seven,
I was asking questions
like, Why are humans made?
Why are we born?
What is the purpose
of mankind?
Why am I here?
The Buddhist
monks at the temple
would say things like,
Oh yeah, Steve,
you can go to heaven,
you can go to hell,
come back,
you can get reincarnated
into an animal
or a different species.
They taught you how to do
right and do wrong,
and try to earn
your salvation.
My mother, who was trained
as a registered nurse,
she got recruited
by a VA veterans
hospital in Boston.
You know, she prepared
the way for us to come.
So I came with my younger
brother in elementary school.
Kang: The older I got,
middle school and
even up to freshman year,
and I remember
feeling a lot of confusion.
I remember looking
in the mirror and saying,
How come I'm the only one?
How come I have
to be Korean?
And it was a big struggle
and led me to become
a little rebellious.
Like I joined the garage
band. I tried to...
I think I tried
a little harder
than others
to try to fit in.
And I just remember,
you know, always feeling
a little empty, feeling
confusion and emptiness.
You know, from high school.
I remember
in the summer of 1998,
we will get high
in the morning,
in the afternoon, in the
evening, the whole summer.
I don't remember
being sober for an hour.
And my mom and brother
were getting super worried.
I called the Buddhist
temple for help.
They didn't help either.
So I realized, like,
this is something that is
beyond my power ability to
to to save myself from.
You know, people
say when they see demons
or evil spirits,
they might think
somebody comes
with a pitchfork and horns.
But I had an open eye
vision of all Asian
grandpa coming.
He's talking to me
like I'm talking to you.
He said, Hey, Steve,
I know you're
having a hard time.
If you commit suicide
and take your own life,
then I can give you 50,000
less years of hell.
And I'm like,
That's a great deal.
I went to the kitchen.
I grabbed the biggest
knife I could find.
Got on my knees.
So I grabbed a knife
and I cut my
neck open here,
which, you know,
was very painful.
My mom sees the
event happening,
so she calls 911.
The cops came,
and then there's
the Grandpa spirit is
still there speaking to me,
says, Steve,
you got to hurry up.
You're going
to miss your chance.
Go for the stomach.
So I cut my stomach open,
which actually is,
you know, the scars
go down all the way here.
I lost a big part
of my blood.
The cops came
and whacked me with a bat.
I dropped the knife.
I remember
losing consciousness.
The whole living was
bloody red.
My mom was crying.
I remember hearing her.
They put me
in the stretcher
because already I'm
very damaged.
I'm losing blood,
like at a very fast rate
and I'm going in of conscious.
The grandpa spirits gone
and then it was just into
the unknown after that.
I remember coming out,
seeing my body and then
seeing the E.R. room.
I remember going through
just darkness, like even
seeing rocks and stones
around me just falling.
It just felt like I was
falling in an elevator.
And I don't know how to
put it into words exactly,
but I knew I was going
to a different place.
There was still real,
more real than anything
here on Earth.
I was still fully
Everything's happening,
but now it's like
there's different
set of rules,
there's a different set
of awarenesses.
And you're saying
goodbye to Earth.
I knew I was saying
goodbye to Earth.
And going to
another place of eternity.
And then God came to me
and like a ball of light,
that became
like a triangle.
Behind it I saw the city,
I looked up and it was
glittering like gold.
The walls were gold.
I don't know how it works,
but it's definitely
a place we go.
I heard a voice
before I woke up.
I love you.
And I open my eyes and I'm
in the emergency room.
I was like,
Oh my God, I'm alive.
So first of all, I was
so thankful I was alive.
I look around,
my mom's there,
she's crying, grabbing
my hand, son, you know,
you, you regained
And I was still trying
to process what happened,
but I just knew
I was back on Earth.
They said it took two
surgeries to cover
the blood vessels
that were cut.
A specialist had to fly in
at the last minute,
and if he was late,
they told me I would
have been bye, bye forever.
My heart and blood wouldn't
go back up.
We just kept
sinking, sinking, sinking,
during the whole surgery.
And they said
it was a miracle.
Good timing.
[slow rumbling]
I know one thing, we all
live once and die once.
And there is
judgment after.
[low rumbles]
Dr. Sabom: I think
that there are
a lot of people that do
take advantage of this.
The novelty
and the fascination
of this experience.
We're all to die
and we all want to know
what's going to happen
once that happens.
So, I mean,
this is speaking to us all.
And of great importance.
That can be abused.
Some of these these cases
are transmitted through
several different people
before they get in print.
And they get
a lot of attention
because they're fantastic.
But what I've tried to
do is remove
some of the subjectivity
to these experiences.
And put data out there
that's been scientifically,
rigorously collected.
There's no way
you can verify
the transcendental part
of the experience.
The person feels like they go
to an otherworldly
as opposed
to their environment
right there in the room
with them.
Mr. Burke: What really convinced
me and what convinced
many skeptical doctors,
oncologist, cardiologist,
is that when people
initially leave their body,
they say that many times
they were in the room
still where they were being
resuscitated or worked on
many times up
near the ceiling,
looking down, watching.
They felt incredible peace,
even though
it was chaotic.
oftentimes in the room
where they were
working on their body,
When they would come back,
they were able to give
corroborative evidence
that they actually saw
what was going on
in the room,
even though
they were unconscious
at the time they
were worked on.
They shouldn't have
been able to see this.
Dr. Sabom: Autoscopic means
They were visualizing
themself from the ceiling,
lying in bed, lifeless,
or being resuscitated.
That is the verifiable part
of a near-death experience,
where you can go back
and either verify what
they said they saw
or what
actually occurred.
And that's what I wanted.
That was the main thing
that got me hooked
on this thing.
And I paid
very little attention
to the tunnel, the light,
the deceased relatives
and friends,
the religious figures.
For me as a
cardiologist, scientist,
and a physician,
I wanted some verification,
I wanted
some medical records.
I wanted to talk to people
who had been there
and seen what had
happened in the room.
[light music]
Dr. Greene: Back in
the early 1990s,
when I was a resident
training and neurosurgery
at Phoenix and at the Barrow
Neurological Institute,
one of the best places
to go in the world.
It was a destination center
for neurosurgery.
I was on the Chairman
Dr. Robert Spetzler
and Dr. Spetzler is
world renowned.
There was a patient
who came to him
named Pamela Reynolds,
Dr. Spetzler: What we're looking
at is the aneurysm that she had.
Which is at the very
base of the brain.
This is the balloon
that can burst
and cause this
incredible catastrophe.
It's all the way at the
very base of the brain.
And that is why it's so
incredibly difficult
to get there.
Dr. Greene: The anatomical
location of the basal
artery is a neurosurgeons
no man's land.
She underwent an operation.
pretty unusual operation
called cardiac standstill.
I came in several times
into the operating room
because it's a cardiac
standstill case
and they're fascinating.
Dr. Sabom: If you were going to
do a laboratory experiment,
this is the perfect
She was put on the
operating room table
and immediately put under
general anesthesia.
Dr. Greene: The cardiac
standstill operation requires
teams of medical providers,
surgical providers,
all of which is designed to:
1. drop the temperature of
a person's body.
2. Drain out all the blood
out of their body.
3. Keep them in a state
of suspended animation,
shut down brain function.
And you've actually
stopped the heart.
[backround noises
and conversations]
Dr. Sabom: They had these things
in her ears
that emitted 95 to 100
decibel clicks.
If the click went off
and you saw spike
on the EEG
that was measuring
the brain stem,
then you knew
the brainstem was active.
Dr. Greene: No heart
that's beating,
a brain that's no
longer functioning.
Dr. Sabom: And what they had to
do is get it
so that those clicks
were eliciting no
brainstem reactivity, i.e.
it was flatlined.
So was pretty
much totally isolated
from the environment
And medically,
she was in a--
that's why they call
procedure standstill.
was at a standstill.
Tom Wilkinson: She would be
clinically dead
for a whole hour
of the operation.
Dr. Sabom: She had a three part
near-death experience.
The first part
was out-of-body,
autoscopic part,
When Spetzler first started
up the brain saw
she heard the conversation
between Spetzler and
the surgeon
about the artery
being too small
in her right
femoral artery,
and they had to switch
over to the left.
The visual part.
She saw the bone saw,
which I didn't even know
what it looked like myself
as a cardiologist.
Pam: And I was then
looking down at the body.
I knew it was my body,
but I didn't care.
My vantage
point was sort of
sitting on the doctor's
I remember the instrument
in his hand.
It looked like the handle
of my electric toothbrush.
Dr. Sabom: And then she said
that there was this tray
of instruments
to the right of Spetzler,
that it looked like
the socket wrench set that
her father used to have.
And then the other stuff
was the same autoscopic.
And in between
those two experiences,
which she relates
the experience
as a continuous experience,
she had the transcendental
Pam: I felt a presence.
I sort of turned around
to look at a
pin-point of light.
Dr. Sabom: Well, how do you know
the transcendental
experience happened
when the blood was drained
out of her head?
Well, you don't.
All you can do is infer it.
You can't prove it.
The other two are
time anchored.
The middle is not.
[medical equipment beeping]
Dr. Greene: Pam came back,
I believe,
the following day.
As with every patient,
I'm rounding on her
in the intensive care unit
before the chairman rounds
and she's awake
talking with me.
You know, usually ask the
typical questions
How are you feeling?
after that tube was removed
from her by extubation
and she was able
to control her airway
and she was becoming
more lucid?
Well, she
had a lot to talk about.
She began to
describe some details
about her operation.
And as she spoke,
I became spooked.
She talked about her
blood vessels and her
groin, being canulated
and being too small.
She talked about her
heart being shocked twice.
Giving me details that
she just shouldn't know.
I sort of put the kibosh
on the conversation.
"Pam, you need
to get some rest.
I'll come back later."
I went to my chairman
and told Dr. Spetzler,
"You need to talk
with Pam Reynolds.
She's describing stuff that
she just shouldn't know.
This ain't right."
Functionally speaking,
Pam, was dead.
Dr. Moody: Typically, when
people are coming out of a dream
in the morning,
they feel like they're
coming back to reality.
But people who have
a near-death experience
say that is they
go into that experience,
it's this life
that becomes dreamlike.
People feel that
when they, from the world's
point of view, are dying,
they actually are waking up
to a reality that
this state of existence
that we're in now
seemed like a dream or
as though you're asleep.
Dr. Sabom: I think
the near-death
experience is where
science meets religion.
There is a big difference
between proof and evidence.
This is all evidence,
but enough evidence
at some point
makes it so close to proof
that most people would say
it's right,
it's real.
I got to watch what I say
because I don't want to
alienate people.
I think skepticism is good
skepticism, true
But rigidity is not.
In other words,
if you have an
ideological opposition
to something
and you fight tooth
and nail to support it,
or at least advocate it
and refuse
to look at the other side,
that's not being objective.
Dr. Long: There's a lot
about the afterlife
that we don't know
for sure.
We'll all know for real
only after we die.
And not completely
before then.
Mr. Burke: There have been lots
of alternate theories
fighter pilots syndrome.
You're pulling G's,
It feels like you're
going through a tunnel.
Some say
psychedelic drugs like
DMT or LSD or mescaline,
vibrant colors and, and,
maybe going to
another place,
Dr. Long: You name it, DMT,
Ketamine, LSD,
those are
generally illicit
substances that produce
hallucinatory effects.
And in fact, many people
that take these
illicit substances
and the difference between
the experience they have
and the typical near-death
is very striking.
Mr. Burke: The problem is that
all of those might describe
one aspect.
You have people
and we're talking thousands
and thousands of people
all around the globe, old,
young, sighted
people, blind people.
And they're saying
the same thing,
though on the other side,
blind people can see
they have to adjust to it,
to describing things
that they see, but
they see the same things.
And there was one study
done with 23 blind people,
14 of them
blind from birth,
two of them that I report
about describe the light
coming out of everything.
Dr. Long: There's the near-death
experience of Marta.
She was a five-year-old
girl and totally blind.
Marta went into a lake
and drowned,
and her consciousness rose
above her body.
She described vividly
details of birds' feathers,
birds' eyes,
details on telephone poles.
It's remarkable to me
how someone totally blind
can be fascinated
by mundane
things that you and I
would not consider
to be so exciting.
Seeing this
for the first time
while she's unconscious
and below the
surface of the water
and yet having a
near-death experience.
Mr. Burke: So how do you get
a lucid experience
that happens both
for people who have had
drugs potentially
in the hospital or,
you know, anesthesia,
But they're saying
the same things as those
who have had no anesthesia
and the same things
that little kids say,
the same things that people
from different
backgrounds and cultures
say you don't have mass
Don: The moment
the truck struck me,
I was standing
at the gates of Heaven.
[wind blowing]
[waves crashing]
And it was magnificent.
It was like the
inside of an oyster.
It was pearl and dazzling,
almost like it was living.
It just looked that way
because of the light
reflecting off the gate.
Heaven is light.
God is light.
It's... it's astounding.
Don: One of the most
difficult things
about talking about heaven
is that you have to do it
with earthly words,
and there are no earthly
words that do it justice.
[wind blowing]
Mr. Black: I did think
for a moment, okay, I died.
Okay, I'm gone.
And was I sad?
No, not at all.
I wasn't worried
about my mom or dad
or what they would think
or my--, nothing.
I was only looking forward
to where I was going
and it was nothing but joy
and peace, love and unity.
[water sounds and music]
Don: I was surrounded by people
I knew and loved in life.
[backround video conversations]
The first person
I saw was my grandfather.
I was very close
to my grandfather.
The last time I saw him,
he was in a casket.
At his funeral, he did
not look good.
Now I'm standing
at the gates of Heaven,
and there he is
to greet me.
And he looked really good.
He extended his hands to me
and spoke a language
I've never heard before,
but fully understood and
said, Welcome home, Donnie.
Mr. Black: I recognized this
group of people.
These people are looking
at me with such love.
They're all seemingly
at the prime of their life.
And these people
were greeting me
and they were so delighted
that I was there,
Dr. Neal: And I knew that they
were there for me,
to welcome me,
to greet me, to to love me,
to make me feel known.
And I knew that
they had known loved me
as long as I've existed.
[music and wind]
Don: The music was phenomenal.
Thousands of songs at the
same time without chaos,
all manner of music,
they just invade you.
I mean, you're permeated
by the music.
[waves of water and music]
My senses were
incredibly vivid,
you know, touch and taste
and feel and hearing.
It was just all.
It's just the most
real thing
that's ever happened to me.
After I greeted
the people, they parted
and I could see
through the gate.
There was
a long boulevard that
really bisects the city
and it appears
to be constructed of gold.
So many of the things
that we experience here
are there,
but much infinitely
more glorious and perfect.
I wanted to climb that hill
and fall at the
feet of the great
God of all
creation and say,
"Thank you for
letting me come."
That was my objective.
[loud closing sound]
Mr. Burke: Not every near-death
experience is a good one.
23% of those who come
forward talking about them
talk about how they had
hellish experiences.
[TV Static]
Paul: At that time,
I, I felt really empty.
It just seemed like
the best thing to do
was just to die
at that point.
If I die,
then it's game over.
And if I die, then the pain
and the suffering,
the depression,
the darkness,
all this is going to stop.
if I do enough cocaine,
then maybe my heart
will stop beating
because it feels like it's
racing out of my chest.
[heartbeats stop]
And I didn't see
a bright light.
I saw a black tunnel.
It felt like somebody
grabbed me and dropped me
in this outer darkness.
As I started racing down
this tunnel,
it seemed like infinity.
It was like
a bottomless pit.
I don't know how,
but I was no longer high.
All my senses
were at 1,000.
I knew that I had died,
and it was one of
the scariest moments
in my entire life.
And I'm racing
down this tunnel
that seems like forever,
like a thousand miles an hour
as I'm just freefalling.
[low violin tones]
If I'm going to hell,
there's got to be a mistake
because I never
killed anybody.
I didn't rob a bank.
I mean, I'm a good person.
I'm not a bad guy.
The only person I hurt
was myself.
When I began to justify
how good I was,
it went faster
like 2,000 miles an hour.
It speeded up the process.
Like, now you're
really going to Hell.
I remember at that point
I cried out
with all desperation.
I said, "God, you need to
come help me right now.
because I need you.
If you really exist,
I need your help.
So you got to come help me.
Please, God,
I need your help."
[low tones]
Mr. Storm: In the bed
that I had been in
was this big slab of meat.
And when I looked
at the face,
it bore an amazing
resemblance to me.
And I could not understand
how that could resemble me.
But I was perfectly
well standing there,
perfectly alive,
looking at this,
hunk of meat.
The other thing
that bothered me was that
my wife would not
respond to me.
Well, at first I started
talking in a nice voice,
and then I started yelling
at her, like, you know,
what the
hell is going on here?
Look at me. Talk to me.
You know,
I'm all better.
You know, what's that
thing in the bed?
How did it get there?
I was very upset,
very distressed.
And then I heard people out
in the hallway
outside the well-lit room
in the darkish-gray,
hazy hallway.
And there was
a group of people standing
outside the light
of the room in the hallway.
I said, "I'm sick.
I need a doctor."
And they said, "We know.
We know all about you.
It's time for you to
come with us."
So I thought that they were
hospital personnel
to take me to a doctor.
[low tones]
When I left the room
and went into the hall,
I can't explain how I knew,
I couldn't go back
into the room.
The door didn't close,
but I knew that
it was impossible
for me to go back
into the light of the room.
So I hesitated and
the people became very...
Hurry up,
Let's go. Let's go.
We can't wait anymore.
You know.
We've been here a long time
waiting for you.
Hurry up.
So I gave in
and went with them
and they immediately
surrounded me
and moved me forward
into that greyness.
[dramatic music]
As we moved along,
I could not perceive walls,
ceiling, any
feature at all.
And we walked
and walked and walked.
And after a while
I was like, okay,
this hospital's
not that big, you know?
I mean, we walked miles
now, and it's like,
where's the stairs?
You know,
where's the up and down?
Where's the walls?
And there was nothing.
We just walked and walked.
So I was asking the people
around me like,
this isn't the hospital,
This isn't right, you know,
where are we?
Stuff like that, and,
their response
was, "Shut up, be quiet.
Keep moving.
Move, move, move!"
[dramatic music]
They'd say,
"You're going to find out.
You'll find out.
You're going to get there."
[low background voices]
There was a lot of
people around us,
possibly hundreds,
I don't know.
They were
being very vulgar, very
threatening, very scary.
I'm in abject darkness.
I have absolutely no
idea which way
is forward, backward.
I mean,
all I knew was I wanted to
get away from them.
[music and crackling]
They said, "No,
you've got further to go."
And they started to push
and shove me.
And I fought back.
They began by punching,
shoving, kicking.
And then they started
biting, scratching
[sinister laughter]
and tearing me apart, literally.
disemboweling me,
gouging my eyes.
And it was all accompanied
with a great deal
of laughter and joy.
[dark noises]
[backround laughter]
I thought about
my whole life
and everything seemed like
what was the point.
And I realized
that my relationships
with my mother
and father were a disaster.
My relationship with
my sisters wasn't good.
My relationship with
my wife was very troubled.
I was not proud or pleased
with my relationship
with my two children.
I sank into
a pit of despair
and hopelessness
that I can't begin
to describe.
My mind offered up a memory
of myself as a little boy
going to a Sunday school
singing "Jesus Loves Me"
When I was a little boy
and I was afraid,
like having nightmares
at night or whatever,
I would pray to Him and
He would chase the
lions and tigers.
and bears away.
And as a child,
it was, like, mostly
in the image
of like a superhero.
Jesus was like a superhero.
And so...
that's it.
That was all I knew.
So I called out to him
in complete desperation,
A tiny little star
appeared in the sky,
[thunder rumbling]
and very rapidly
it got brighter
and brighter and brighter.
Mr. Black: I started moving
without direction.
I had nothing to do
with this.
I started moving
out of the room.
I next realized that
I have left the hospital
and now I'm traveling
almost like a rocket ship,
just moving
out of this atmosphere.
[boom and rumbling]
As if in deep space.
Mr. Storm: I realized we were
not on the ground anymore.
We were moving upward,
straight upwards.
[thunder rumbling]
So I've got my face
buried in His chest
hanging on to Him.
I'm like, I don't want to
let me go because I,
I'm afraid if I let go,
or if he lets go, I'm
going to fall back
into that horrible
place again.
Mr. Black: And there was a beam
of light that was lighting
the pathway
of where I was going.
Paul: My whole life
flashed in front of me
as big as the sky,
Mr. Black: Tiny spheres
of light.
They weren't planets,
they weren't stars.
These were beings
going to Earth
Mr. Storm: Where we were going
is what I first thought
was a galaxy.
A huge world of light.
Mr. Black: The light that
I'm looking at,
is coming from none
other than God Himself.
Inside the light was life,
And inside
that light was love.
And my body is
still on Earth.
My brain and eyeballs
are back there.
But, I'm sensing
and discerning
all of these things.
Paul: When you leave this earth
and you step into
the eternity,
everything is
crystal clear.
Mr. Black: I knew I was coming
to this holy area
and obviously
it took another second
to connect the dots.
This is Heaven.
[music playing]
Mr. Storm: And he spoke to me
for the first time
in his voice,
but it was telepathic
but it wasn't
a thought of mine.
It was his voice
in my head.
And then he said,
I've got some people
that I want you to meet.
They've recorded your life
and they want
show you your life.
So they proceeded to
show me my life
in chronological order.
[movie reel clicks]
What I saw, to
summarize it, was
happy youth
pretty much
going to adolescence,
everything going sour,
with my relationship
with my father.
Because of my father's
cruelty to me,
I was cruel back.
My father was physically
and emotionally abusive
every day to my mother,
my sisters and to me.
I mean, it never stopped.
The only way
that I could deal with it
was to try
and not feel anything.
And all he wanted for me
was to be
a little duplicate of him,
you know,
just be subservient to him.
You know,
being being disobedient
had immediate
physical consequences
of being kicked
or punched or hit.
And I saw myself striving
to become emotionless
and feeling-less,
which was a way for
me to protect myself
from being hurt.
As I became
more manipulative
and successful,
the more the angels
and Jesus expressed
their disappointment
and sadness
with me and my life.
And it really hurt
to disappoint them
because I here
I have these newfound
friends, my big rescuer,
you know, best friend
I ever had.
And I'm-- and I'm
looking at my life
and I'm a big, huge
and you should put me back.
I don't belong here.
[crying and music]
You know,
you've made a mistake.
I don't belong here.
And he said,
"We don't make mistakes.
You do belong here."
Dr. Neal: At this point.
I had had
a number of operations and
I was finally able
to be upright instead of
wheelchair bound.
But I,
able to walk very well.
When I was
sent back to my body,
I knew that
sharing my experiences
with other people
was part of the deal.
I knew that part of that
was writing about them.
And so I woke up
and I spent the
next week or so
getting up at three
or four in the morning and
writing for a few hours
before the morning routine.
And so I, you know,
made my final revisions.
And when I hit
the save button,
I took my youngest son, who
was still living at home
into town to get ice cream
so we could celebrate.
And so as we were
driving into town
to celebrate,
I called my older boys
because my oldest son
and his brother
were at the time
living in Maine.
They were ski training.
And I called them
to share this great news.
And the coach
answered the phone
and told me that Willie
had just been hit
by a car and killed.
[holding back tears]
and um,
I mean,
I reacted
like any mother would.
[emergency sirens]
The depth of my spiritual
does not protect me
from grief.
It doesn't protect me from
sorrow or any of
those things.
The depth of pain,
of losing a child is,
I don't think, a
pain that can be
replicated by
any other human
I mean, I was devastated
[music playing]
[rain falling]
[distant thunder]
Don: And it all stopped
just as quickly I arrived.
[emergency sirens]
That accident happened
at 11:45 in the morning.
I arrived at Hermann
Memorial Hospital
at like 6:15 that night.
So they went and got my
wife out of her classroom,
brought it down
to the office
and told her the news.
Eva: And I walked down the
hall and into the office,
and our assistant principal
came out
from around her desk
and just wrapped me
in this hug.
And she says, "Don's
been in an accident."
And that's all that
we knew.
Don: I was taken into surgery
that evening
and was in surgery
for 12 hours.
The next day
was when I realized
I was in the recovery room.
Eva: The emergency room
had called
and the nurse said,
he can't hold the phone,
but I'm going to put it
next to his ear
so he can hear you.
And I started with
the questions,
"Are you okay?
What happened?
Do I need to
come out there?"
just, you know, rambling
sort of things.
And all I could hear
him say was,
"I just want to go home.
I just want to go home."
[hospital machine sounds]
[wheezing breaths]
Later, I understood
that he meant his
Heavenly home.
Don: Had I had a choice,
I would not have
come back here.
I mean, I've had 30
wonderful years here,
but I would still rather
be there.
I know what happens next,
and it's it's always
better there
than it will ever be here.
So I didn't really want to
come back, but
I didn't get a choice.
Eva: He went into a deep
And I would go in, and
he would just lay there.
He wouldn't talk to me.
He wouldn't acknowledge me.
I would bring papers
to grade.
I would sit over in the
corner and grade
and stay there
till about 11:00
almost every night.
And then I'd tell him
and I'd leave.
[deep crying breaths]
And it was hurtful, because
I thought, you're alive.
You know, you're alive.
You're back with us.
Don't you love us enough to
be glad to be back with us?
And to me, that
was harder to deal with.
The depression was harder
to deal with
than the physical injuries,
which were massive.
And I remember one night,
I thought, you know what?
I'm going to go home
early tonight,
and I'm going to take
a warm shower,
and I'm going to
crawl in the bed,
and get a good
night's sleep.
So I gathered up
all my stuff,
and I just said,
well, I guess I'll
see you tomorrow.
No response.
That night, something
clicked inside of me,
and I had had it.
And I dropped
that book bag,
and I stomped my way over
to the side of the bed,
and I let him have it.
What is wrong with you?
Why aren't
you glad to see us?
Why aren't you glad
that you're back with us?
It was just--
it just tumbled out.
And so I grabbed
my stuff up,
and I'm walking
out the door.
And there was a big mirror
next to his bed.
And I looked over there,
and he was crying.
Just tears.
So I walked myself back
over, and I kind of had to-
he had so many metal
things that we had kind of
got my way in and I just
wrapped him in my arms.
And I said, It's
going to be okay.
And I realized then that
I had to accept that
he was going through things
I didn't understand.
Mr. Storm: Finally,
I got through it.
Jesus said,
"Do you have any questions?"
I said, "I've got a million
He said,
"What do you want to know?"
So I asked him
everything that
I could think of to know,
And if we went
through that,
it would
take us several years.
And He gave me a whole
new understanding
of everything.
I said, "Great,
Now that I understand,
I want to go to heaven."
He said, "um um,
You're not ready
for Heaven yet."
Finally, I said, "What do
you want me to do?"
"I want you to love
the person
that you're with."
I said, "Okay, yeah,
but then what
do you want me to do
after I do that?"
And He said, "No, that's
what I want you to do."
I said, you know, "What
good is that going to do?"
He said, "It's going to
change the world."
And I said, "That's
going to change the world?
I don't think so, no."
I said,
"You don't understand.
The world is like
a terrible, cruel place.
Even if I love someone,
they're just going to go
get beat up somewhere else
and not going to--"
He said, "No, if you
love someone,
they'll take that love
out into the world
and maybe they'll love
somebody and it'll
grow and grow and grow."
I said, "It's not going to
And He said,
"It's God's plan.
It's going to work."
Well, when he pulls out
the God's plan work,
you know,
I mean, like,
what can you say?
[dramatic music]
And so finally I conceded.
and I said, "Okay,
I'll go back."
And with that, bang,
I'm in the body,
I'm in the bed.
[dramatic music]
The nurse who'd
been in the room
comes in and says,
a doctor has arrived
at the hospital and
we're going to prepare you
for surgery.
When I awoke,
I knew that
what had happened to me
was the most
important thing in my life.
Because now my life had
real meaning and purpose.
I was very, very weak.
I had been in
surgery for hours.
I'd spent
most of the morning
trying to think of how
I was going
to tell my wife
what had happened.
I said to her,
"It's all love."
She said, "I love you."
And I said, "I know you
love me, but it's all love."
She said, "What are you
talking about?"
And I said, "It's
an ocean of love.
And you have to just go in
into that ocean of love
and be a part of it."
And she said, "Okay, honey,
Try to get some rest."
Here I am. I'm I' giv--
I'm giving her
the abbreviated
wisdom of God.
And she's basically
telling me,
you know,
you're making no sense.
It's crazy talk.
From that day forward,
I tried to tell people
about God, Heaven, Hell,
what I'd experienced,
and nobody,
nobody took me
seriously at all.
I was a zealot.
I was a complete zealot.
And it was
not good
for my relationship
with my kids
because the more that they
did not respect what
I was trying to tell them
and the more they told me
I was nuts and crazy
and stuff like that,
the more...
it totally alienated them
from the Bible,
from God, from me.
I mean, it was completely
It was a disaster.
My wife left me.
She poisoned the
kids against me.
They've rejected me.
They don't want anything
to do with me.
They think I'm a crazy man.
It's all going to work out.
I know that God works
stuff out.
It just doesn't happen
on our time frame.
I mean, I'd like it now.
It's not happening
right now,
but it could happen
It might take a long time.
I don't know,
Eva: A couple of years
down the road
when I found out
about the Heaven
people have asked me,
"Aren't you mad that
he didn't tell you?"
Not really.
I was relieved
because now I understand.
You know,
if you've been to Heaven,
why would you want to be
back in the pain
that he was in?
[musical tones]
Don: I found myself
on a daily basis
with all these devices
attached to me
and unable to move at all.
I couldn't do a
single solitary thing
for myself at all.
38 and then 39 year old man
who was completely
[low piano chord]
You let me see that,
And you brought
me back to this.
What is going on here?
What was the purpose
of this?
[piano music]
Dr. Moody: In my studies
of psychiatry,
I quickly realized
that practically
is chasing something.
Some chase fame
or money or power.
But what I quickly realized
in talking with people
who had near-death
is that whatever
they were chasing
before this experience,
convinced them that
what life is all
about is learning to love.
Mr. Burke: And they all come
back all around the globe
with the same "aha".
That God is love.
And that how we treat and
love one another
is what matters
most to God.
You have people
who have these experiences
and come back
and their life
is radically changed.
Mr. Storm: When I came back
one of the things I knew
I wanted
to make friends
with my dad.
Not only was
I able to forgive my father
because I understood
that he was just messed up
because of his messed up
All my father
really wanted to do
was to be loved but he
didn't know how to do that
in an appropriate way.
So he tried to be loved
in inappropriate ways.
He thought obedience
and discipline.
And my mother
and my sisters
were really angry with me
because they all told me
several times
"You and Dad
hated each other
and now you're
his best friend. Why?"
And I'd say, "Because
he's my dad."
Grace is passed along
and passed along
and passed along.
And it's powerful.
It's powerful because
people change lives
for the good.
They find hope, peace,
love, joy, contentment.
You know.
And they also find
God and eternal life.
Dr. Neal: When I was being shown
the ripple effect
of my own actions
and my own words,
I was able to see this
20, 25, 35 times
removed from me.
a big distance.
I understood all the hurts
and sorrows and dreams.
Everything that had brought
me to that point in time
when I may have hurt
someone else.
I also had this complete
of the back story
or the, you know,
the life story
of the other
people involved
and everything
that had brought them
to that moment in time
where they hurt me
or they
hurt someone I loved
What we
each say and what we
each do and the choices
we make matter.
They really do.
[video conversations]
Dr. Neal: When I talk
about my son's death,
I know that he went home,
and I'm sure that he didn't
want to come back either.
I'm sure he was reassured
that we would be fine.
When my time
on earth is done,
my oldest son
will be there to greet me,
my father, my stepfather.
I now know
other people who have died,
people who I love, people
who are important
in my life.
I don't see
us here on Earth, and God's
world is over here.
I think we exist
in the midst of it.
I had the most
overwhelming sense
of being home,
of being where
I really belong,
where we
really belong, all of us.
Kang: It took about a few
months to recover fully.
I was still feeling
the pain,
feeling a little down,
depressed. Seeing Hell
and Heaven, changed me to
kind of prioritize others.
So at the age of 35,
I joined the Army Reserves.
I became a chaplain.
People just
came back from war
and you could tell
that they had
a very heartbroken
or a psychological damage,
or the atrocities of war.
So we did a lot
of counseling.
We would pick up
phone calls at two,
three in the morning,
go with them to training,
hang out with them.
I would tell them that
there's hope.
I would tell them that
depression is not forever.
I believe
all over the world,
there are so many unique
NDEs, near-death
and so many cultures
and backgrounds, American
or not,
all types of religions,
death is as real as life.
And I believe God
in his mercy,
no matter what
religious background
you are, allows you
to go through that
so that you can seek Him
in the process.
Don: I don't know why
some people survive
and some people don't.
I wish.
I wouldn't have survived.
I've had some
very real things
happen to me on Earth.
The birth
of five grandchildren,
seeing my children
all graduate.
I mean, it's
been glorious in many ways,
but nothing compares
to Heaven.
It's just, that's
the most real thing.
That is my reality.
This is not.
Mr. Burke: What do we have
more in common
as humanity than death?
And to know that there is
hope beyond this life,
that there truly is beauty,
and relationship and love
and adventure ahead.
You know, that
all of our our history
and our memories,
they don't end and we don't
become something else.
It goes on.
Dr. Sabom: People ought to
keep an open mind
to what's going on,
not accept everything
they hear
from people, from me,
from anybody.
Be skeptical,
ask questions,
think about it.
There are things that we
can't explain, and I think
it needs to be documented
as much as we can.
Documentation's important.
Without that,
it's an interesting story,
and that's it.
We can only do so much.
You know,
we're human beings
and we do the best we can.
I think
most people really do.
We don't have
all the answers,
and I don't think we ever
will have all the answers.
In the scientific realm.
What is a human
soul? Is a human soul?
does it live after death?
I don't think science
is going
to answer those questions.
I think all of these
near-death experiences
suggest that
that's possible.
[somber music]
[Clicking of machine]