Near-death experiences appear to be universal phenomena that have been reported for centuries. A near-death encounter is defined as an event in which the individual could very easily die or be killed, or may have already been considered clinically dead, but nonetheless survives, and continue his or her physical life. Reports of near-death experiences date back to the Ice Age. There are cave paintings, in France and Spain that depict possible after life scenes that are similar to reported scenes related to near-death experiences. Plato's Republic presents the story of a near-death experience of a Greek soldier named Er. In this account, the soldier is killed in battle and his body is placed on a funeral pyre. Just before he is to be cremated, he awakens and tells a story of leaving his body and traveling with others to a place where they were all to be judged. Historical figures such as Carl Jung, Thomas Edison, and Ernest Hemingway have also reported their own near-death experiences. Modern researchers, such as Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Raymond Moody, Kenneth Ring, and Melvin Morse, have provided modern accounts of near-death experiences. Through their research, they have been able to provide phenomenological evidence regarding these experiences as altered states of consciousness, and qualitatively demonstrated that the great similarities between the different reports of these experiences are not a result of chance or accident.
San Filippo, David Ph.D., "An Overview of the Near-Death Experience Phenomenon" (2006). Faculty Publications. 27.
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