CompuServe OMN-169 NDEs In India Near death experiences, or NDEs, most often follow seriou

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9 CompuServe OMN-169 NDEs In India Near death experiences, or NDEs, most often follow serious injuries or illnesses in which imminent death is expected, but does not occur. These bizarre, brief encounters with the "afterworld" are usually characterized by visions of long-dead relatives, swirling lights, and the sensation of utter peace. But now, according to recent research, it seems that not all aspects of the NDE are universal. In a study by Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia Medical School and Dr. Satwant Pasricha of the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India, NDE reports from East and West reflect variations in the cultures themselves. Indians, the researchers found, tended to report that "messengers" of the god of death took them to the otherworld, where a man with a book was waiting to check them in. They were generally sent back to earth only after it was discovered that a mistake had been made, that the intended victim had the same name but came from a different caste or lived in a village nearby. Once the mistake was detected, NDE-ers were generally escorted back by the same messengers that brought them in initially. Americans, on the other hand, usually went unescorted to the otherworld and returned alone, not because of some untimely mistake, but because of love for family or a simple desire to live. Do these findings prove NDEs are nothing more than mental projections of cultural beliefs? Maybe so. But Stevenson and Pasricha contend that "if we DO survive death and live in an after-death realm, we should expect to find variations in that world just as we do in this one," they declare. "A traveler to Delhi encounters dark-skinned immigration officials, who in many respects behave differently from the lighter-skinned immigration officials another traveler may meet when arriving in London or New York. In the same way, there may be different receptionists in the world after death."

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