Near-Death Experiences, Deathbed Visions, and Past-Life Memories: A Convergence in Support of van Lommel's 'Consciousness Beyond Life' Page: 306
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JOURNAL OF NEAR-DEATH STUDIES
p. 316). These psychological events are experienced from an out-of-
body vantage point and can be categorized as material (perception
of the ordinary phenomenal world, usually including seeing from
an elevated vantage point one's physical body and its surrounding
earthly situation), and transmaterial (perceived activity beyond the
ordinary phenomenal world, such as movement through a dark re-
gion or void to an otherworldly, brighter realm; mentally communi-
cating in that realm with a being or beings of light, deceased loved
ones, or spiritual figures; reviewing events of one's earthly life; and
reaching some border, limit, barrier, or juncture) (Holden, 2009; cf.
Sabom, 1982). In combined or comprehensive NDEs, the transma-
terial aspect of the experience typically follows the material aspect
"in a continuous, unbroken sequence" (Sabom, 1982, p. 52). As I will
elaborate below, material, transmaterial, and especially comprehen-
sive NDEs (cf. Sabom, 1982) can have major and long-lasting effects
on the experiencer's attitudes, beliefs, and behavioral lifestyle. Expe-
riencers generally do not differ in demographic or psychological terms
from non-experiencers (Fenwick & Fenwick, 1995; Greyson, 2000a;
Holden, Long, & MacLurg, 2009; van Lommel, 2010).
As have others, van Lommel (2010) noted that NDE basic features
and aftereffects "appear to be the same worldwide except for some
culture-specific differences in content and interpretation" (p. 11; cf.
Kellehear, 2009). Culturally contextualized ways of describing or in-
terpreting the dark region, for example, include: tunnel, current of
wind, narrow ravine, cave, well, trough, sewer, valley, and tube (Kelle-
hear, 2009; Nahm, 2009). Whereas a rural Asian experiencer reported
having emerged through the calyx of a lotus flower, an American truck
driver recollected having been "shot through a tailpipe toward a bril-
liant light" (Cox-Chapman, 1995, p. 17) and an American child re-
membered moving through a noodle (Morse, 1999). Kellehear (2009)
inferred that respondents from diverse cultures were "attempting to
describe some kind of movement through darkness" (p. 152) and into
some otherworldly, usually bright realm. Based on study of over 1,300
cross-cultural reports (spanning over 110 countries) at his research
website, Long (2010) concluded: "Whether it is a near-death experi-
ence of a Hindu in India, a Muslim in Egypt, or a Christian in the
United States, the same core elements are present" (p. 149).
Might this cross-culturally evident phenomenon be interpretable as
mere hallucination or fantasy? After all, "the imagination can be made
to produce realistic images that can be projected outward as though
a part of the perceived world" (Blackmore, 1993, p. 69; cf. Whinnery,
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Gibbs, John C. Near-Death Experiences, Deathbed Visions, and Past-Life Memories: A Convergence in Support of van Lommel's 'Consciousness Beyond Life', article, Winter 2010; Durham, North Carolina. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461696/m1/4/: accessed April 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .