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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Near-Death Experience by C. Marie Bowen

The Near-Death Experience

By C. Marie Bowen

The near-death experience—an occurrence that takes place after an individual’s heart stops beating, and before resuscitation—happens all the time. Not only are NDEs a frequent phenomena, they have been experienced by humans for, well...practically forever. NDEs have been documented in all parts of the world, and have been experienced by people of all religions.

There is even a research foundation, NDERF, that allows on-line readers to document their own experience. NDERF weblink. There is no shortage of information and opinions about this phenomenon.

I once spoke with a man who had been electrocuted and was without a heartbeat for several minutes before resuscitation. He told me he did not experience anything during the time his heart stopped beating. That non-experience is also not unusual.

Since my research for Passage began well before the advent of the internet, I have a number of book references in my notes cited by Dewey Decimal numbers. I have to laugh, because now, I have more information than ever regarding NDE’s. Despite easy access to a wealth of information, the experiences and opinions haven’t changed much in 30+ years.

Dr. Bill Lansing provides some general information regarding NDEs in an NDERF article link. NDE General Information. He states that (according to P.M.H. Atwater, in Beyond the light) there are four different types of Near-Death Experiences. Atwater’s research corresponds with my own.

1) A non-experience or Initial experience. This type of experience is either cut short by resuscitation, or precedes one of the other types. Atwater suggests that this type of experience is common with individuals who require the least amount of evidence, or proof of survival after death.

2) Unpleasant or Hell-type experience. This has been described as an encounter with a threatening void or a hellish purgatory. Atwater suggests that individuals with repressed guilt, fears or anger may experience this type of NDE – expecting punishment after death.

3) Pleasant or Heaven-type experience. These include loving scenarios with family and/or religious figures, and sometimes even “beings of light.” Atwater believes these are experienced by those who require reassurance and self-validation—individuals who need to know they were loved.

4) Transcendent Experience. This type of experience is often difficult to explain. Individuals are exposed to otherworldly dimensions and visions beyond their own frame of reference. Usually, there is no personal content relating to the individual. Atwater suggests this experience is for those ready to embrace the next challenge.

The near-death experience changes people, in both positive and negative ways, regardless of which type of experience they have. You might expect the Hell-type experience to lead to guilt, anger and depression, but that isn’t always the case. This type of experience is sometimes viewed as a “wake up call” to change the type of life you lead. Likewise, the after effects of a pleasant experience can lead to broken relationships and difficulty relating to the world “as it is”, just as often as it brings ecstatic joy and fills the individual with the wonder of life.

People who disbelieve in the NDE phenomenon have sited drug use, psychological trauma, and physiological injury such as high endorphins or hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) as the root cause of this experience.

I found one article through NPR that dealt with both the individual’s experience and the scientific study of the phenomena. NPR - Decoding the Mystery of NDEs

Information on this phenomenon hasn’t changed much in 30 years. What has changed is the ability to connect with others who have had an NDE, and for people to share their experience on-line.

In Passage, Courtney Veau experiences an NDE after a car accident. When her heart stops beating, she encounters an other-worldly hallway with darkened doorways and a compelling light at the end of the hall. As she moves toward the light and familiar voices, one doorway brightens and begins to pulse with the beat of a human heart. She is drawn through that doorway and falls into her previous life. When she reawakens in a present-day hospital, she is heartbroken. Courtney Veau would give anything to return to her soul-mate, Merril Shilo, and the life she lived as Nichole Harris, if she could only find the passage back to her previous life

Excerpt from Passage:
The long shadows faded into twilight. She'd found what she came for—proof this house existed. There was no longer a reason to stay; and yet, just the possibility she might hear his voice again kept her waiting one more day.
Outside the window, night took final possession of the day. A few porch lights came on down the block. Headlights swung around the corner as a car turned onto the street and illuminated the pavement. The headlights winked off and a car door slammed.
Behind her, the room took on a familiar chill. She turned from the window and pressed her back against the heavy drapes as the echo of boots pounded up the back stairs. She gasped when he raced into the room, vaguely luminescent in the darkness. He was dressed in denim trousers and cotton shirt, with a silk scarf tied loosely around his neck. Where's his hat? Had he lost it in the dash up the stairs? That wide-brimmed cowboy hat was such a part of him he seemed naked without it. His hair had come loose from its binding, and he shoved it out of his face with a familiar motion. She stood close enough to read the emotion play across his face, a mixture of fear and bewilderment. His breath was labored, and his anxiety tangible as he stopped and looked right at her. Her mouth fell open in surprise and her heart tightened in her chest. Does he see me?
He took a hesitant step toward her. “Nichole?” His voice filled with horror, he whispered her name from another life.
Yes! Merril, it's me.” Courtney stepped toward the specter.
His head turned. His attention called away from her open arms. “Oh, sweet Jesus.” Merril fell to his knees and reached for something no longer there. “Nicki, please don't go. Stay with me.”
Merril, I'm here.” Her heart ached for him and for herself, but her plea went unheard.
Sobs shook his wide shoulders.
Her heart clenched to witness his despair. She longed to comfort him, to assure him she was there, but could not. In defeat, she sank to her knees beside the grieving apparition.
Nicki, don't leave me. Look at me—” His hushed voice, choked and broken.
I'm right here, my love,” she whispered, but the room grew warm, and Merril Shilo faded back into the past. Courtney hung her head in the darkness and fought back tears. One question was answered, at least for now.


 Comment on the blog and leave your email address. If you like, tell me about an NDE you know of, or an “out of body” experience you have had. If you have never had an NDE, (and I never have), tell me what you believe you might find beyond the veil. Who would you speak with? The winner will receive a free e-book of Passage, Soul of the Witch – Book 1.

 Connie (C. Marie) Bowen is an award winning writer of paranormal adventures laced with suspense and romance. She grew up in Denver, Colorado and has a love of western history, science fiction, and fantasy. Her life travels have taken her from Denver to Wichita, KS and eventually settling in North Texas to raise her two boys. A LEED accredited professional, she worked as an Architectural Project Manager for retail construction prior to deciding an empty nest gave her the opportunity to follow her writing muse.

 She is a PRO member of Romance Writers of America, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Sub-chapter of RWA, North Texas RWA, and Savvy Authors.

Learn more about her books and works in progress at her website:


  1. I've talked to several people who've experienced NDE, including my mother, who experienced an extended #4. She rarely spoke of it because people tended to think she was on the edge of barmy, but she returned to the mortal earth because she was told that she'd get pregnant and have a baby boy, which she did six years later.

  2. Wow, Jacquie! That gave me chills. I only spoke with one man, but the stories I read while doing the research were amazing.

  3. Connie,

    There are too many unknowns and unexplainables out there in the world for me to doubt anyone's NDE or otherworldly experiences. I''ve never had a NDE, but I've had many paranormal-related ones and even an astral projection-type encounter.

    1. I would love to have an astral projection experience. LOL. I'd rather hope for that than an NDE. I would love to hear about your paranormal encounters.

  4. I've never had an NDE. Probably a good thing since having your heart stop may not result in stepping into your past life.

    1. You are right, Sandi. LOL. Courtney had one of the best - case NDEs. I'd opt for an out of body experience instead.

  5. Hi Connie,
    Just ordered 2 extra Passage novels. One for niece in Atlanta and one for niece who lives close to me in Indiana. Both will enjoy the journey into the past like I did.
    Have an aunt who looked over her own body as they shocked her heart back to life. Didn't last long, but she remembers it clearly.

    1. Thank you C.A. I hope your nieces enjoy Passage. I've heard about NDEs where the person stays beside their body. What a thing to see, right?

    2. Yes. She floated above her body. Wild.

  6. Connie, I do believe that those NDE experiences are a "portent of things to come" -- there have been too many people who have experienced it for it to be otherwise. And I look at it as a ray of hope -- whether religion enters into it or not-- that there is SOMETHING after we die. I just loved this book, and you did such a wonderful job of getting all the details in and making them work out--that is not easy in a paranormal or time-travel book. I'm really looking forward to the next one, Prophecy! You go, girl!

    1. There must be something else after this life. It may be beyond our understanding, it may be our choice, or our fate. I always thought if I could astral travel I could unwind that mystery. I'm excited for you to read Prophecy too. It won't be long until you have it. YAY!

  7. The winner of the e-book "Passage" is Kaye Spencer! Congratulations Kaye. I sent an e-mail to your email address. I hope that is the correct one. If not, get in touch with me at

    Thank you to everyone who stopped by and left a comment. ~Connie

  8. Well, how about that? Thank you. *grin* And, yes, you have the correct email addy. I'm looking forward to reading "Passage".

    1. Cool. Let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy it.

  9. Working in critical care for 47 years, I got to see the near death experiences happen to patients on several occasions. It felt very weird when someone told me about it. A nun I knew very well was very ill and not expected to live. She had been in a coma for several days. One day Father King, our resident priest was at church delivering mass when he died suddenly of a massive heart attack. At almost the exact same moment, the sister awoke from her coma and told me her amazing story of speaking to her dead friends, but not being able to communicate with the living. She said she was on a ship circling the New York harbor during this time. When she awoke, she could no longer see or speak to her dead friends. To me, it was as if Father King took her place in Heaven while she carried on her work on Earth. It felt so strange hearing her story. Some may have doubts about the afterlife, but after hearing so many of these stories, have no doubt.

    1. I love to hear about these experiences. Thank you for sharing that, Sarah. Even though all near death experiences are similar, the each have a unique quality as well. A ship in the harbor...I think there is a story there.

  10. Congratulations Kaye. In my original comment, which did not post, I agree. There are many NDE's and also that we choose when we leave. My father, six months before his passing, when there was no indication he had anything wrong, started to do things he's never done. I believe there was a part of him that knew his time was coming and that he would go this time. Doris McCraw/Angela Raines

    1. My mother is 86 and although she is not seriously ill, is having trouble with dementia, COPD, and hip and leg pain. She is in an Assisted Living apartment. She is very interested in the subject of my book, and asks me all the time what happens after we die. I wish I knew - but I tell her about the NDE and the family that will be waiting for her. I hope that is a LONG way away. She and I are very close.