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Steven Novella attempts to "debunk" Eben Alexander's case

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  • #76
    Originally posted by MaxPower View Post
    In response to the above text:

    You really don't see what I was responding to? You've completely misattributed the aim of my comments.
    This is the aim of my comments. In the interests of understanding how the mind/brain works, it is useful to have information about experiences in conjunction with information about where and whether there is brain function. NDE's are one of those experiences which seem to be associated with reversible alterations and reductions and even complete absence in brain function, so there may be something interesting to learn if we can gather more specific information on what is going on in the brain at the time of the various experiences.

    Paul was explicitly speculating that Near-Death Experiences could be generated even during periods of flat EEGs by some hypothetical hidden pockets of brain activity undetectable to the EEG equipment. You yourself quoted one of his statements to this effect and wrote, "Indeed." I thus responded by pointing out that the notion of tiny pockets of undetectable brain activity generating rich experiences involving visual and auditory perceptions, along with emotions, memories, etc., while the major portions of the brain corresponding to those types of experience (visual cortex, auditory cortex, etc.) were non-functional (as is clearly true in the case of a flat EEG), is utterly contradictory to the materialist neuroscientific model of consciousness, and represents a bald retreat from the materialist position that this very model of consciousness is accurate.
    I think we agree that at the very least, it is useful to know whether these experiences take place in the setting of non-functional visual and auditory cortices.

    In the posts I was responding to when I wrote my earlier comments, you and Paul were clearly speculating about the possibility that Near-Death Experiences can happen during flat EEGs, but are still brain-based. In the post quoted herein, however, you have responded to these comments by pivoting back to the notion that Near-Death Experiences just don't happen during flat EEGs, and spoken as though I was criticizing people for asking for evidence that they do happen in such periods; nothing in my comments suggested any such claim.
    Okay.

    In fact, you and I specifically discussed this issue just yesterday, and I referred you then to a collection of cases Michael Sabom recorded in "Recollections of Death," in which he documented various cardiac-arrest survivors' Near-Death Experiences, complete in several instances with specific descriptions of events which happened while said experiencers were in cardiac arrest. As I acknowledged then, these cases admittedly did not involve the recording of flat EEGs, but they did involve extended flat ECGs, which presumably would have corresponded to flat EEGs had such a measurement been taken at the time; brain activity ceases within 20 seconds of cardiac arrest.
    That isn't a reasonable generalisation. The point of CPR is to maintain cerebral perfusion on the way to recovery.

    Linda

    Comment


    • #77
      Originally posted by Pollux View Post
      You, yourself alluding to it just a few pages back. That seem to have slipped your mind: >>>

      What most neurologists/neuroscientists agree on is that memory is the first thing to go in cases of severe trauma, yet the recollection of an NDE is "welded" in to the memory of those who had one.
      Why are you bringing up head trauma? Steve Volk (if I recall correctly) does that as well and it's not relevant. Head trauma can be associated with memory loss, but these cases are mostly about cardiopulmonary arrests, not head trauma.

      WTH has that got to do with NDE-experiences?
      The one thing about NDE-experiences is that it is crystal clear and is not hazy or fleeting like a normal dream.
      You never have crystal clear dreams? That's interesting.

      People who have had DMT-trips, or had have hallucinations says that there is NO comparison to their NDE-experience.
      Do you have a reference for that?

      Linda

      Comment


      • #78
        Originally posted by fls View Post
        But that assumes facts not in evidence.
        What evidence? The people claim to have these experiences while they are down, not while they are waking up. NDE accounts tend to report a separation between being pushed back in their body and being awake. Neuroscientists reject the possibility because it doesn't fit the model; this appears akin to trying to diagnose a patient without actually listening to them.

        Originally posted by fls View Post
        I suggest that you read the article Arouet linked to.
        Originally posted by JCearley View Post
        Hm. Reading through, that article seems to base a lot of the refutations on French and Blackmore papers. [..] The case for the probes during an epilepsy study showing results where surface EEG does not, is the only part of that article that seems concerning to me. I suppose we'll see what all Parnia has to say on the AWARE study, though the synopsis of his book seems to suggest they found some interesting details on it.
        Not only should this tell you I read the paper, I noted who was being cited throughout it, and I acknowledged the author had a point (even though I'm suspect of it.) I suggest that you read the post.

        Originally posted by fls View Post
        Your list is the misrepresentation of the scientific discussion, rather than what has actually been said.
        So you're denying that those point/counter-points are actually brought up by the researchers? Arouet's linked article makes all of those claims, and offers no explanation why anything veridical sometimes happens.

        Originally posted by Silverlight
        He's agenda driven or a dumbcluck, one or both. I choose the former.
        He can be agenda driven and make a valid point. Technically, Dr. Alexander has an agenda too now: he wants to study and show that his experience was not a hallucination.

        Comment


        • #79
          Originally posted by JCearley View Post
          What evidence?
          I thought that that was my claim.

          The people claim to have these experiences while they are down, not while they are waking up. NDE accounts tend to report a separation between being pushed back in their body and being awake. Neuroscientists reject the possibility because it doesn't fit the model; this appears akin to trying to diagnose a patient without actually listening to them.
          I suspect it has more to do with neuroscientists having a deeper knowledge of how (un)reliable our perceptions are with respect to when an experience took place and over what time course.

          Not only should this tell you I read the paper, I noted who was being cited throughout it, and I acknowledged the author had a point (even though I'm suspect of it.) I suggest that you read the post.
          Sorry, I responded to your first post before I saw that post (otherwise I wouldn't have made the suggestion, obviously).

          So you're denying that those point/counter-points are actually brought up by the researchers? Arouet's linked article makes all of those claims, and offers no explanation why anything veridical sometimes happens.
          For example, you brought up "ignores brain trauma" in response to whether people form memories when unconscious. These are mostly about cardio-pulmonary arrest, rather than brain trauma, so why would researchers address an irrelevant point? The discussion about the effects of hypoxia was far more thorough and nuanced than your dismissal of it.

          Linda

          Comment


          • #80
            There are alot of things that are wrong with the article that Arouet posted. They keep on pushing this idea that hypoxia and brain seizures can produce near death experiences but this doesn't work. Chris Carter has a article that deals specifically with those points.

            Why Materialist Science Cannot Explain Near-Death Experiences | Beyond Science | Science | Epoch Times

            In his book "Science and the near death experience" he goes into specific details outlining why all of those theories that they are putting forth don't work. He even has a section of his book that is dedicated to Susan Blackmore theories that this article is pushing. The fact is that there is no evidence that anoxia can give rise to the clear lucid experiences that NDE'rs experience. It doesn't matter how fast or slow the onslaught of anoxia is. This is also talked about in the "Handbook of near death experiences" where Edward Kelly addresses all of the neuroscientific explantations for NDE's. Temporal lobe or brain seizures doesn't work either, I haven't heard of a single case that can give rise to a classic NDE. The experiences are fragemented, even Michael Presigner says this. ( Even though his God helmet was refuted by a Swedish team)

            The article also talks about seizures that the EEG can't pick up. But the thing is even if this is true the reason is that they are testing patients who have epileptic seizures (which is supposed to shoot off tons of neurons) , this is rendered obsolete when you are dealing with near death experiences when cardiac arest occurs. Billions of neurons are dropping like flies when cardiac arrest hits, and in 10-20 seconds the eeg is flat. Cardiac Arrest is also effecting the deep brain structures too, why would they not? Tests with animals have shown that this is the case. The only type of seizures that can occur during a cardiac artest are anoxic seizures, but these are not epileptic in which they do not cause random neurons to fire in the brain

            What are anoxic seizures?

            Reflex Anoxic seizures are in reality the only type of seizures that can be compared to seizures that may happen during cardiac arrest, since the heart stops and blood flow to the brain is abruptly cut off. But even then this only seems to happen in children, and a small amount of them too and what is different is that they don't need someone to rescuitate them like cardiac arrest. I don't even think seizures happen at all during a real cardiac artest, since in the reflex anoxic seizures blood flow is restored on its own. All I am saying is that if that happen then there are not epiliptic

            Penny Satori also replicated the research that Michael Sabom did a while back ago. That is that patients that had out of body experience during cardiac artest reported there rescuitations much more accurately then did persons without cardiac artest. When people have these verdical accounts, there is a MASSIVE increase in clarirty and lucidity when billions of neurons are going to waste. The fact is that, I don't see how if it is brain based how this even happens. Its like saying, the heavier the ankle weights get the faster I am going to run. I just don't see, you would expect this if the mind is a filter. And why do people think that wild array of disorderly neurons fired deep in the subcortical regions of the brain or even near the very bottom of the cortical level, is going to give rise to an NDE like experience? How can you go from irrationality to rationality in a very short time while you are lacking millions of neurons to work with?
            Last edited by Buggy713; October 16th, 2012, 11:27 PM.

            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by Buggy713 View Post
              There are alot of things that are wrong with the article that Arouet posted. They keep on pushing this idea that hypoxia and brain seizures can produce near death experiences but this doesn't work. Chris Carter has a article that deals specifically with those points.
              We don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. More than looking at specific hypotheses I think the thing to take from these articles and the Watts article and Novella's writings is that there are known brain events that can trigger experiences that at least resemble the kinds of experiences that people have during NDEs. Now, those known phenomena may differ in significant ways from the NDE experience but it opens the door for exploration of what could possibly be going on in the brain specifically during an NDE that might trigger those experiences.

              I don't see a lot of support from proponents for pursuing these avenues. Perhaps they think its fruitless but I'm not sure how they would know that? The fact that there are scientists interested in this angle leads me to believe that they are worth pursuing. Perhaps they won't solve the issue, but perhaps they might! At the very least they should add to our understanding of the brain, which I think everyone here would admit there is still much to learn!

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by Arouet View Post

                I don't see a lot of support from proponents for pursuing these avenues. Perhaps they think its fruitless but I'm not sure how they would know that? The fact that there are scientists interested in this angle leads me to believe that they are worth pursuing. Perhaps they won't solve the issue, but perhaps they might! At the very least they should add to our understanding of the brain, which I think everyone here would admit there is still much to learn!
                Perhaps you should read Chris Carter's book on the subject. He does go into all of these explanations and deals with them one by one. Maybe you can ignore him because his conclusions don't support your ideology but you can't claim that these avenues are being ignored. Maybe they don't warrant further exploration because they are clearly not a match for the actual experience. A cat and a small dog are very similar: both have all the bits & pieces (legs, eyes, ears, tail, etc.) in the same places but you wouldn't suggest that time should be spent pursuing those similarities, would you?

                For me, it all seems as though we have a bunch of critics who, when faced with phenomena that shouldn't happen, look around for whatever looks a bit like that phenomenon and try to plug the hole with it. Shove hypoxia in there, DMT in there, false memories in there ... Ok, we're done: all explained. Move along now.

                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by fls View Post
                  I suspect it has more to do with neuroscientists having a deeper knowledge of how (un)reliable our perceptions are with respect to when an experience took place and over what time course.
                  Sure. The same could be said for any other medical procedure, though, and other procedures don't wholesale dismiss the patient's testimony just because the doctor is trained in the topic.


                  Originally posted by fls View Post
                  For example, you brought up "ignores brain trauma" in response to whether people form memories when unconscious. These are mostly about cardio-pulmonary arrest, rather than brain trauma, so why would researchers address an irrelevant point? The discussion about the effects of hypoxia was far more thorough and nuanced than your dismissal of it.
                  If cardiac arrest brings forth bodily death and the cessation of pumping oxygen to the brain, and a lack of oxygen in the brain is brought up as the cause for these events... does it not stand to reason another documented effect of no-oxygen (brain damage, memory loss, etc) should be at play in the lack-of-oxygen hypothesis? That the person's memory is intact seems suspiciously like hypoxia was not responsible.

                  I don't care to repeat every single nuance of the argument in a bullet list; that's the job for the researchers themselves. I do however see the ones involved in the research directly saying "No, it is NOT X." while passers-by neuroscientists claim it is obviously X.

                  Originally posted by Buggy713 View Post
                  Temporal lobe or brain seizures doesn't work either, I haven't heard of a single case that can give rise to a classic NDE. The experiences are fragemented, even Michael [Persinger] says this. (Even though [the Koren helmet] was refuted by a Swedish team)
                  Persinger also said they configured the system wrong; he was able to repeat it in his own lab to show it off to quite a few skeptics, and in later studies with Ingo Swann he showed the same methodology the Swedish team used actually caused serious problems. By simply moving from a DOS controller to a Windows controller for the signal, as the Swedish team had done, the effect size for a Psi test was completely erased. Also note that the hypothesis for the Koren helmet was that the brain could be affected by magnetism, it's the big media skeptics who came out dubbing it the "God Helmet."

                  We can't defend replication failures on one side when the original authors point out the flaws, and then let them go unchecked just because they're on the other side.

                  Originally posted by Arouet View Post
                  Now, those known phenomena may differ in significant ways from the NDE experience but it opens the door for exploration of what could possibly be going on in the brain specifically during an NDE that might trigger those experiences.
                  Sure. I think proponents are just tired of being told they are wrong (even told that 'science' has proven them wrong) because of a few scattered effects that fail to produce the same results, which are then dubbed as sufficient evidence to debunk. If neuroscience can actually replicate the effects solidly, proponents would have some humble pie to eat. So far they have failed to, despite "knowing" what stimuli causes the effects.

                  Comment


                  • #84
                    Originally posted by JCearley View Post
                    Sure. The same could be said for any other medical procedure, though, and other procedures don't wholesale dismiss the patient's testimony just because the doctor is trained in the topic.
                    This isn't much different from other conditions. For example, if I want to know whether the period of ischemia was long enough to cause damage in someone with angina due to coronary artery disease, I won't put much weight on the patient's testimony that the period of ischemia was 12 minutes, based on the duration of their symptoms, because data shows this to be unreliable.

                    If cardiac arrest brings forth bodily death and the cessation of pumping oxygen to the brain, and a lack of oxygen in the brain is brought up as the cause for these events... does it not stand to reason another documented effect of no-oxygen (brain damage, memory loss, etc) should be at play in the lack-of-oxygen hypothesis?
                    This was covered in the article you read.

                    I don't care to repeat every single nuance of the argument in a bullet list; that's the job for the researchers themselves. I do however see the ones involved in the research directly saying "No, it is NOT X." while passers-by neuroscientists claim it is obviously X.
                    Their point was that the dismissal of X was premature, and that valid reasons for doing so were not offered.

                    Linda
                    Last edited by fls; October 17th, 2012, 06:52 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Originally posted by Kamarling View Post
                      Perhaps you should read Chris Carter's book on the subject. He does go into all of these explanations and deals with them one by one. Maybe you can ignore him because his conclusions don't support your ideology but you can't claim that these avenues are being ignored.
                      I don't think you quite understood me. I wasn't saying that proponents have ignored the skeptics who have suggested certain physical phenomena could account for NDEs. I acknowledged that these events, taken on their own, don't match exactly the NDE experience.

                      But the point of bringing in those examples is not that they match exactly - but that they involve quite similar experiences to the NDE stemming from known brain based activity. What this triggers is a suspicion that the brain might be able, given the proper conditions, to produce the NDE experience without resorting to non-brain causes. It's not the answer - it's the question. It's an avenue for research.

                      But when I see proponents discussing this for the most part I see them simply pointing out the differences between the documented events - rather than focussing on the similarities. I don't see a lot of: Well, while I suspect NDEs are not brain based I see these similar phenomena as a good reason to investigate the brain based angle more.

                      Maybe they don't warrant further exploration because they are clearly not a match for the actual experience. A cat and a small dog are very similar: both have all the bits & pieces (legs, eyes, ears, tail, etc.) in the same places but you wouldn't suggest that time should be spent pursuing those similarities, would you?
                      Depends on the question. Can we agree that there is a ton we still don't know about the brain? Are you confident that we can fully describe, based on current research, what the brain is capable of and how precisely it works?

                      For me, it all seems as though we have a bunch of critics who, when faced with phenomena that shouldn't happen, look around for whatever looks a bit like that phenomenon and try to plug the hole with it. Shove hypoxia in there, DMT in there, false memories in there ... Ok, we're done: all explained. Move along now.
                      But, for example, the Watts article doesn't suggest "move along now". It suggests further research. Clearly there is something going on with NDEs that is worthy of study, whether brain based or not.

                      Originally posted by JCearley View Post
                      Sure. I think proponents are just tired of being told they are wrong (even told that 'science' has proven them wrong) because of a few scattered effects that fail to produce the same results, which are then dubbed as sufficient evidence to debunk. If neuroscience can actually replicate the effects solidly, proponents would have some humble pie to eat. So far they have failed to, despite "knowing" what stimuli causes the effects.
                      I agree that some of these articles overstate the similarities - but many of them properly acknowledge the effects aren't exact but that they give us strong reasons to suspect brain-based phenomena. Again: more research is needed. Hopefully Parnia will have some interesting results.

                      Comment


                      • #86
                        Originally posted by fls View Post
                        Why are you bringing up head trauma? Steve Volk (if I recall correctly) does that as well and it's not relevant. Head trauma can be associated with memory loss, but these cases are mostly about cardiopulmonary arrests, not head trauma.
                        It doesn't have to be head trauma to cause memory loss, (even though head trauma causes longer memory loss.)
                        No, even normal trauma to the body, and/or the psyche can cause temporary memory loss of the accident they just went through, maybe as a safety precaution to make it easier to recover and treating and healing your physical wounds, or maybe its an overload of pain-signals and impressions that cause the memory to faulter. This could also be the reason that many dont remember their NDE experiences.

                        Another, much more speculative, reason people might not remember their NDE's could be that since they got a glimpse of the afterlife and "remember" the feeling of wonder, peace, love and no sorrows it would be impossible for them to go back knowing that, and that they couldn't go on living with that knowledge in the back of their mind, so they get that part erased.

                        You never have crystal clear dreams? That's interesting.
                        No I have actually not. Even when I have had Lucid Dreams I know when I wake up that it was just a dream, it felt like a dream and it becomes harder to remember the dream the longer I'm awaken. Totally opposite to NDE's that does not feel like a dream when they wake up, it felt realer than most good memories of their lives. (like birth of a son, their wedding etc, moments that meant much to them)



                        Do you have a reference for that?

                        Linda
                        I have it in one of my NDE'books , if I just can remember which one it was.
                        But during that time I'm trying to remember which book it was, you can try to decide which of these stories are a DMT-trip and which is a NDE-experience.


                        PS: I have edited it without the qoute-window cause something is wrong with how it interpret the " and '.



                        -----------------------


                        My world began to morph as I experienced an intense rushing sensation. The closest thing I can relate the initial sensation to is one of those launch roller-coasters that begins with an extreme boost of speed (rather than getting pulled up a long incline). It was hard to maintain awareness of my presence; it was as though my body became just another object in the room, disconnected from my soul or ego. It was weird, but I couldn’t spend much time dwelling on this feeling as this rapidly progressed. There was too much other stuff going on.

                        In a single moment, every single visually-seperable item in the room had not only its own energy, but its own personality to go with it. Every object in my field of vision darted around, each distorting themselves in their own unique manner. Peering about, I realized that my friend’s apartment, the walls of which were laden with those trippy posters only stoners and base-heads buy, was a horrible place to do this drug. I looked at the monkey poster on the wall in front of me, dumbfounded by the vividness with which every detail became animated.



                        The top monkey holding the tap as brew gushed into the beer-bong, bopping his head in sync with the vibrations of his headphones, foam dripping everywhere. The middle monkey holding the beer bong with his left hand, spinning his right in a rhythmic manner, smiling in such a way that suggested his awareness of my disbelief. The bottom monkey taking the endless beer bong like a champ, the pupils of his bloodshot eyes spinning in opposite directions, the stars rotating around his head just like a cartoon.

                        But it wasn’t just a repetitive looping animation. Their actions were totally autonomous from my consciousness. At one point, the bottom monkey took the hose out of his mouth as if to hand it to me, causing beer to spill out – to the top monkey’s dismay, who angrily scolded the bottom monkey as he released the tap. Feeling as though the bottom half of my body was soaking wet with beer, I panicked. “NO MONKEY, I CAN’T TAKE THAT BEER BONG,” I either thought to myself or screamed out loud, “CAN’T YOU SEE I’M TRIPPIN’ ****ING BALLS RIGHT NOW?!” My point being, this wasn’t just a vivid hallucination; think about what it means that I saw the monkey remove the hose from his mouth. Parts of the actual image that didn’t even exist were being shown to me, i.e. the part of the monkey’s mouth and face behind the hose, which was revealed to me when he tried offering it.

                        Like I mentioned above, I had a simple method of overcoming hallucinations while on acid; I would just focus harder on it and remind myself I’m on acid, and the hallucination would return to its true form. That didn’t work here. No matter how hard I tried focusing on these hallucinations, on the fact they couldn’t be real, they didn’t stop. I just noticed more about them. What’s more, they seemed to scoff at my attempts to deny them as anything other than real. The whole thing was akin to the moving paintings that are all around Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. Not only did the posters become completely animated, but the ones with human, or human-like, subjects objectively acknowledged my presence. It was ****ing surreal, but nothing compared to what came next.

                        The imagery became dizzying. The rest of the room was moving in my peripheral vision with the same level of vividness as the monkeys. In anything woven, such as my jeans, the individual strains of fabric appeared to flow in and out of each other, as though my eyes were suddenly able to witness the elastic energy with which such fabrics keep their form. As this progressed, I became disturbed by separate hallucinations – that is, brighter, vibrant moving imagery formed separate from that which actually surrounded me. In other words, there were both hallucinations being formed from what I could really see, and hallucinations being formed from… Well, no where.

                        Deciphering what was real and not became impossible and made me uneasy. Regret toward having surrendered such control set in. Next thing I knew, the poster’s background engulfed the monkeys like a black hole, which immediately expanded into the entirety of my vision in a radial manner, forcing my eyes shut.



                        The inside of my eyelids have always been a safe-haven during other psychedelic trips. Not this one. Hexagonal patterns – seemingly formed from phosphenes (the illusion of light/color you see when you close your eyes and rub them) – somehow formed within the confines of this familiar blackness. They flowed and pulsated with the flux of a river of molten lava. It was, at first, quite similar to looking at an assortment of neon lights through a kaleidoscope, but with less rigid movements. There was a certain coherence to the whole experience. It seemed logical.

                        Rapid flashes of imagery overtook my consciousness, as though my life was flashing before my eyes. Faces and places… but it was more than just images. Intense emotions came and went with their respective images with the same intense frequency. While this was going on, I continued to feel as though I was being forced upward. I couldn’t help but feel the presence of someone – or something – else. Almost as though there was an intelligence to the patterns. Or something behind them.



                        It was all so foreign. What’s odd is my ego was still present – unimpaired. What I mean is, I didn’t feel intoxicated as I do whilst drunk. My reasoning ability was left untouched. I was still me, despite being thrust into what I could only rationally presume is the spirit world.

                        Before I knew it, the random flashes of imagery subsided to reveal a world taking shape. Depth was created in the blackness of my unopened eyes through the coordinated flow of vibrant, flashing, colorful hexagonal patterns. The floor discernible from the walls by differences in their patterns and direction of flow. Aware that my eyes were closed, I was stupefied by the structural complexity of what I was witnessing in the darkness of my head.

                        Then, they revealed themselves.

                        I must once again pause to note that the following is not exaggerated. It is what I actually saw. I’m not filling the voids of my recollection with imaginative details. I went into this experience with the intent of paying close attention to whatever happened. I don’t need made-up details, there was far more than I could have even absorbed.


                        Without warning, three glossy-black humanoid-like figures – lacking any skeletal structure – appeared. Their movements had a certain graceful yet mischievous flow. I don’t remember seeing where they came from, it was as though they folded themselves out of the patterns. I had never seen nor conceived of such beings before. But there they were. They were entirely made up of a what can only be described as a black, viscous, malleable liquid. So vivid in every detail. So incredibly real. Impossibly real. Looking at me. Smiling.

                        Having seen a lot of random imagery thus far, I initially discarded them as just another fleeting hallucination. I opened my eyes, expecting to see some other random hallucinations upon closing them again. Instead, they – and the world I had just witnessed come to fore – remained. In an instant, I forgot I put myself in this state. I was simply there, dealing with it. I didn’t have the capacity to consider maybe these were the “gods” Alec “partied with.” All that went out the window of thought. My astonishment was inescapable. As was my fear. Their movements were mischievous. It seemed choreographed. They laughed in a very specific manner. Not in an evil manner. They made no noise, however. At no point did they speak. At the time this frustrated and frightened me further. It hadn’t struck me yet that verbal language wasn’t their mode of communication.

                        This is the part that was, without question, the most scary experience of my life. I’m certain it’s the only time I experienced the emotion of terror. Pure terror.

                        I didn’t trust them. My first thought was that they were demons, which is why I was so scared. Had I found myself in their presence under different circumstances, I may have assumed they were aliens. They seemed to transcend the other hallucinogenic aspects of the drug. Acknowledging them as objective entities was foreign to my belief system, and something I struggled against – without success. Denying them as real, intelligent, discarnate entities would have been as possible as denying the existence of the laptop with which I’m writing this. They were there. And they sure as hell knew a lot more about what was going on than I did.

                        Despite their odd makeup, I couldn’t shake a feeling of familiarity. Only in their faces and hands, and in some ways, their movements. The rest of them was alien. This only worked to scare me more, as my ego darted through the implications of this familiarity. I remember feeling as though they were absorbing my thoughts and experiences. Like they knew me better than anyone from the real world ever could. I felt they were laughing at my imaginative attempts to figure out what or who they are. They don’t make sense in the context of our reality. Even before they appeared, I feared I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. Out loud, I sought answers. “Umm, ahh. What the ****ing…? Who…? are… is…? What are you guys? No… ****ing… way… is this happening.”

                        They approached, dancing along the way. Tribal. Ritualistic. Those were the first two adjectives that popped in my head upon witnessing their movements. Everything about them was so fundamentally different from the other effects of the drug. The hexagonal patterns were just that; patterns. They were predictable.

                        They came up to my face and started to pull at me; much in the same way a child does when they want you to come play. Masters of non-verbal communication, I knew this was what they wanted before they started being so explicit about it. I tensed up, trying to deny them my acknowledgement of their existence. I could open my eyes, but when I did I still saw them. It was like when you look at an image on a computer screen before shutting your eyes and seeing the imprint it leaves, only the other way around. When I opened my eyes, their figures remained imprinted in my opened-eye vision. Disturbed by my inability to escape them, I freaked out.

                        “Oh God. Oh God. Oh God!” I exclaimed. Curious, considering my agnostic nature. Every muscle in my body tensed up, resisting them.

                        I could hear a voice. A real one. It was Alec.

                        “James, it’s okay. Let them take you. They’re cool.”

                        He knew what I was experiencing.

                        Instantly every muscle in my body relaxed as I let go of the physical strain with which I resisted them. When I closed my eyes again, they were directly upon me. At my feet. In my face. They looked as though their bodies were entirely made up of a simple thick, amorphous blob, which they could manipulate in any manner they pleased. This is an ancient pop-culture reference, but if you remember that Nickelodeon show from the 90***8242;s called “The Secret World of Alex Mac,” it was like a thicker, black version of the liquid Alex Mac would turn into.

                        The extraordinary nature of this closed-eye hallucination was such that if my eyes peered left, I saw whatever was to my left (within the context of the close-eyed hallucination). If I wanted to see what was to the right of me, I would peer to the right. Everything about it came across as an objective world that exists regardless of my presence, as opposed to a hallucination that exists solely within my subjective perception.

                        Upon releasing all physical strain, I somehow managed to dispose of my fear. Not out of bravery, but curiosity. “Whatever these beings are, they’re not going away,” I thought, “But… What the hell are they?” I focused harder on them.

                        No longer intoxicated by fear, I could more clearly process what was going on. I was astonished to find that they were taking me, or my soul, into the light. Yes, the light. The one dying people talk of. Only it wasn’t actually a light, more like a portal, but somehow I knew what it was. I remember feeling that I should be scared, that maybe they’re gonna leave me up there. However, evaluating my surroundings in the most rational manner possible seemed like a better option than freaking out again. I figured if I was indeed dying, this would be my only chance to witness death. I focused on breathing, reminding myself that the familiar sensation created by doing so indicates my well-being.

                        Once we arrived, their hands were feeling my face and my body. I only remember one with detail, a female figure. Eerily similar to the greek god Medusa. Only upon closer inspection, her hair was comprised of tentacles (that she could control) rather than snakes. The other beings were of the same make-up, but for some reason, were less interesting to me. In addition to her hair, she had what appeared to be retractable tentacles protruding from the sides of her torso, which joined the hands in their physical inspection of me. The scariest part was I could feel them. I could feel them caressing my face and body. Each and every touch.

                        This turned into a very intimate dance; somewhat tribal. I know my ego was still fully present by how awkward I felt during this – as though I had been taken in by a Native American tribe, and they were blessing me with some ritualistic ceremony. By this point I was just focusing on remembering what was going on.

                        I should say, for the record, I do not have any kind of weird tentacle fetish, or fear of tentacles. Never have I had a traumatic run-in with an octopus or squid. There’s no event in my life that I can think of that would have caused me to see beings with retractable tentacles. They just had them. I remember at one point during the trip thinking to myself, “Tentacles? For real? Why ****ing tentacles?”

                        After going through the light they tried communicating something to me. In retrospect, I realized they were trying to calm me down; basically trying to say “don’t give into astonishment.” I couldn’t help it though; I was simply astonished. Upon realizing I had indeed given into my astonishment, it was almost as though they went, “Oh well, might as well dance then.” I remember feeling awkward, I’m not the dancing type. But it was a familiar awkwardness. It felt just like when someone tries to make you get up and start dancing at a wedding when you don’t want to. I got the overwhelming sense that they cared for me dearly. Although I had no way of knowing why. It was weird.

                        During this time, I recall seeing another being. It was a masculine figure, more human-like than the other three, who stood in the right-hand corner. His arms folded, he seemed to be overseeing everything. I never interacted with him. I wasn’t as worried about him, as he wasn’t all up in my face.

                        The most surreal, and easiest to recollect, part of the whole experience was coming down. By this time, I had basically accepted to myself – without much thought – that these beings were indeed real. Coming down from a drug has never felt so literal. Rather than merely feeling the drug wear off, the beings literally brought me back down, waving their arms mystically as they placed my soul back into my body. That’s exactly what it felt like, having my soul returned to my body; there’s simply no other way to describe it. After which, they just walked off nonchalantly. All of a sudden I was back in my body.

                        The visual distortions remained for about another five minutes as I grappled with what had just happened. I demanded answers from Alec, “What the **** were those things?”

                        “The gods, man,” he replied.


                        As we talked about our experiences, we found striking similarities to what we saw. Three black humanoid figures, seemingly made up of a viscous liquid. This was amazing to me, as it would support the hypothesis that DMT allows the user to access another plane of existence.

                        Being a devout rationalist, I discarded this as a possibility. Until the conversation continued. And Jay spoke the following words which shattered my grip on rationality.

                        “Did ya’ll notice a more human-looking figure, like, in the corner of the place they took you?”

                        My jaw dropped. No. ****ing. Possible. Way.

                        I no longer knew what to think. I still don’t.

                        Alec remembered seeing such a figure, and if you read my above account, you know I did too. How did we just happen to have such similar experiences?

                        I needed answers. What the **** were those beings I saw? Spirits? Demons? Angels? It made me realize none of us even know what any of these things look like. If us three had the same trip – with the same beings – independent of each other, surely someone else has. And if that’s the case, they surely must have written about it. It’s quite lonely a feeling, actually; seeing something every fiber of your being knows was real, yet knowing it would sound insane to the rest of the world.

                        I was really only concerned with finding that which dealt with the actual beings that I saw. I read through a lot of other people’s experiences, and the majority of them came across as somewhat similar to what my friends and I experienced; as though the subjects merely described the experience differently. After searching for a while, I only found two or three recounted experiences that described the beings I saw. The implications of this have left me dumbfounded.
                        First of all, of the countless of billions of animals that would have mutated over the billions of years there must be some trace of one of them somewhere.

                        In order to survive a mutation must have a base of common mutual mutations. To return to the giraffe case. If it evolved from a mutated giraffe
                        otherwise it would take an awful long time for it to evolve to get food to survive.
                        Last edited by Pollux; October 20th, 2012, 08:43 AM.

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                        • #87
                          And the next story for you Linda.
                          Which is which?

                          As I left my body, I again went out into the darkness, only this time I was awake and could see it happening. Looking down and off to the right, I saw myself in a bubble -- in the circle bed -- crying. Then I looked up and to the left, and I saw my one-year-old self in another bubble -- face down in my crib -- crying just as hard. I looked to the right and saw myself again in the circle bed, then to the left and saw myself as a baby -- back and forth about three more times, then I let go. I decided I didn't want to be the thirty-two-year-old Barbara anymore; I'd go to the baby. As I moved away from my thirty-two-year-old body in the circle bed, I felt as though I released myself from this lifetime. As I did, I became aware of an energy that was wrapping itself around me and going through me, permeating me, holding up every molecule of my being.

                          It was not an old man with a long white beard. It took me a long time to use the word God. In fact, I never used any word until I saw the movie Star Wars and heard about The Force. By then, I was already reading quantum physics, trying to figure out how I could explain what had permeated me and was me . . . and you . . . and all of us. Now it was here, and it was holding me. It felt incredible. There are no words in English, or maybe in this reality, to explain the kind of love God emanates. God was totally accepting of everything we reviewed in my life. In every scene of my life review I could feel again what I had felt at various times in my life. And I could feel everything everyone else felt as a consequence of my actions. Some of it felt good and some of it felt awful. All of this translated into knowledge, and I learned -- oh, how I learned! The information was flowing at an incredible breakneck speed that probably would have burned me up if it weren't for the extraordinary energy holding me. The information came in, and then love neutralized my judgments against myself. In other words, as we relived my life, God never judged me. God held me and kept me together. I received all information about every scene -- my perceptions and feelings -- and anyone else's perceptions and feelings who were in the scene. No matter how I judged myself in each interaction, being held by God was the bigger interaction. God interjected love into everything, every feeling, every bit of information about absolutely everything that went on, so that everything was all right. There was no good and no bad. There was only me and my loved ones from this life trying to be, or just trying to survive.

                          I realize now that without this God force holding me, I wouldn't have had the strength to experience what I am explaining to you.

                          I -- we at this point, for we are one, a very sacred one -- God and I were merging into one sacred person. We went to the baby I was seeing to my upper left in the darkness. Picture the baby being in a bubble and that bubble in the center of a cloud of thousands and thousands of bubbles. In each bubble was another scene in my life. As we moved toward the baby, it was as though we were bobbing through the bubbles. At the same time there was a linear sequence in which we relived thirty-two years of my life. I could hear myself saying, No wonder, no wonder. I now believe my no wonders meant No wonder you are the way you are now. Look what was done to you when you were a little girl.

                          My mother had been dependent on drugs, angry, and abusive, and my father wasn't there much of the time and did little to intervene. I saw all this childhood trauma again, in my life review, but I didn't see it in little bits and pieces, the way I had remembered it as an adult. I saw and experienced it just as I had lived it at the time it first happened. Not only was I me, I was also my mother. And my dad. And my brother. We were all one. Just as I had felt everything my grandmother had felt, I now felt my mother's pain and neglect from her childhood. She wasn't trying to be mean. She didn't know how to be loving or kind. She didn't know how to love. She didn't understand what life is really all about. And she was still angry from her own childhood, angry because they were poor and because her father had grand mal seizures almost every day until he died when she was eleven. And then she was angry because he left her.

                          Everything came flooding back, including my father's helplessness at stopping the insanity. If my father was home when my mother exploded into one of her rages, he would close all the windows so the neighbors wouldn't hear, and then he would go outside and visit with them. Again I witnessed my brother's rage at my mother's abuse, and then his turning around and giving it to me. I saw how we were all connected in this dance that started with my mother. I saw how her physical body expressed her emotional pain. I watched as I grew up and left my parents' house when I was eighteen. By that point I had watched my mother undergo twenty-six operations, twenty-five of which were elective. I saw myself as a child praying for a doctor who could help my mother. One part of her body or another was always in pain. She had two spinal fusions on her neck, two or three on her lumbar spine. Both knees, both elbows and one wrist were operated on.

                          As my life review continued, I again experienced my mother starving herself because she was told she had gotten chubby. Then she had to have several surgeries for intestinal problems and constipation, and during those stays in the hospital they would tube feed her because she was so thin. She even had her toes shortened. They called it hammertoe surgery. The real reason was because she had a huge collection of high-heeled shoes that were size four and one-half. (She always insisted on wearing spike heels even with her bad back.) Her feet were growing (as all of ours do as we get older) but she wanted them to remain a size four and one-half. I watched myself with her in a bubble as her orthopedic surgeon said, Florence, you have two choices. Get shoes a half size bigger or shorten your toes! He was laughing, but she chose the surgery. She was in plaster casts for six weeks, taking even more painkillers and sleeping pills.

                          I also saw her go through psychiatric hospitalizations. During one of these, around 1955, I couldn't visit her for three weeks. I was about eleven and was sure I had done something wrong. In one bubble I could see myself finally being allowed to visit her. I looked big for my age and my five-foot-two-inch frame towered over her four-foot-eleven one. She weighed about eighty-eight pounds. I was chunky. She lived on black coffee, sedatives, painkillers and tranquilizers. I loved to eat.

                          In the bubble I was pleading with her to cooperate with the doctors so she could come home. She said, Oh, honey. This is like a job. I don't need to be in here, but Daddy has three (health insurance) policies so I make us money when I'm here. Blue Cross pays all the medical expenses, and we get to keep the rest from the other two policies. I could now feel her saying that and she meant it. She believed it. I continued watching and realized that nothing could have helped my mother because she had no real understanding about why she was there. I could hear myself saying, No wonder, no wonder. And then the benevolent energy that was holding me would hold me tighter and with even more love.

                          We continued watching my mother in pain, always seeing doctors and always receiving prescription pain killers, sleeping pills and tranquilizers. My only feelings during this time were ones of loneliness. I felt so alone when she was in the hospital. Then I watched her abuse me when she was home. I could now feel that she abused me because she hated herself. I saw myself down on my knees by the side of my bed, praying for a doctor to help my mother. What I didn't realize as a child, but was understanding in the life review, was that she didn't want anyone to help her. She thought her job in life was to have doctors and be a patient. And she enjoyed being taken care of in the hospital.

                          I saw how I had given up myself in order to survive. I forgot that I was a child. I became my mother's mother. I suddenly knew that my mother had had the same thing happen to her in her childhood. She took care of her father during his seizures, and as a child she gave herself up to take care of him. As children, she and I both became anything and everything others needed. As my life review continued, I also saw my mother's soul, how painful her life was, how lost she was. And I saw my father, and how he put blinders on himself to avoid his grief over my mother's pain and to survive. In my life review I saw they were good people caught in helplessness. I saw their beauty, their humanity and their needs that had gone unattended to in their own childhoods. I loved them and understood them. We may have been trapped, but we were still souls connected in our dance of life by an energy source that had created us.

                          This is when I first realized that we don't end at our skin. We are all in this big churning mass of consciousness. We are each a part of this consciousness we call God. And we're not just human. We are Spirit. We were Spirit before we came into this lifetime. We are all struggling Spirits now, trying to get being human right. And when we leave here, we will be pure Spirit again.

                          As my life review continued, I got married and had my own children and saw that I was on the edge of repeating the cycle of abuse and trauma that I had experienced as a child. I was on prescription drugs. I was in the hospital. I was becoming like my mother. And at the same time, this energy holding me let me into its experience of all this. I felt God's memories of these scenes through God's eyes just as I had through my grandmother's eyes. I could sense God's divine intelligence and it was astonishing. God loves us and wants us to learn and wake up to our real selves -- to what is important. I realized that God wants us to know that we only experience real pain if we die without living first. And the way to live is to give love to ourselves and to others. We are here to learn never to withhold our love. But only when we heal enough to be real can we understand and give love the way love was meant to be.

                          As my life unfolded before my eyes, I witnessed how severely I had treated myself because that was the behavior shown and taught to me as a child. I realized that the only big mistake I had made in my life of thirty-two years was that I had never learned to love myself.

                          And then I was back, but not in my body. I was behind the nurse's station. I saw a metal circle with pillows tossing behind glass. They were the pillows I had urinated on when I separated from my body. I was watching them in a dryer.

                          I heard two nurses talking about my case and about how my day nurse was so upset after she found me that they had sent her home early. Then they were saying that I was going to be in a body cast for six months, even though they had told me six weeks, because my doctors thought that I couldn't handle knowing. So they were not going to tell me the truth.

                          Then I was back in my body, back in the circle bed. The same two nurses came in to check on me and I said to them, I left the bed again.

                          No, honey. You're hallucinating, they said.

                          I was not on painkillers at this point, so I insisted, No, I'm not hallucinating [ii]. I left the bed.

                          No, you're hallucinating. You can't leave the bed, they said.

                          Please call my day nurse and tell her I'm okay, I responded. Tell her I'm not angry with her. I know she was sent home early. And don't lie to me by telling me I'm going to be in a body cast for six weeks. Tell me the truth. I know I'm going to be in a body cast for six months. And you should have washed those pillows before you put them in the dryer. I don't care for myself, but I care for the next patient.

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by Pollux View Post
                            It doesn't have to be head trauma to cause memory loss, (even though head trauma causes longer memory loss.)
                            So what? We were talking about whether periods of loss of consciousness associated with cardiopulmonary arrest would be expected to be associated with memory loss.

                            But during that time I'm trying to remember which book it was, you can try to decide which of these stories are a DMT-trip and which is a NDE-experience.
                            Fortunately, the authors of the stories say which is which, otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell.

                            Linda

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                            • #89
                              Originally posted by fls View Post
                              So what? We were talking about whether periods of loss of consciousness associated with cardiopulmonary arrest would be expected to be associated with memory loss.

                              It was you who brought head in to the discussion of trauma. I'm just pointing out that memory loss can be caused by lots of other reasons of trauma, which I named in the earlier post.


                              Fortunately, the authors of the stories say which is which, otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell.
                              You haven't read many NDE-stories, I can tell. Or even talked to them I guess.
                              Lets ask the other readers here if they see the same´striking` similarities ,as you did, in those 2 cases?

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Pollux View Post
                                Lets ask the other readers here if they see the same´striking` similarities ,as you did, in those 2 cases?
                                Some DMT trips actually do sound a bit like NDEs. But, in my opinion, the two accounts that are posted here should be extremely easy to categorize for anyone who's at all familiar with either type of experience. Linda, when you say

                                Fortunately, the authors of the stories say which is which, otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell.
                                I can hardly believe you're being serious.

                                For starters, the extensive life review in the NDE account and the manipulation of the subject by "three glossy-black humanoid-like figures" in the DMT trip should be dead giveaways.

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