Ever wondered what death will be like? While no one likes to think about the end of life, lots of us (including scientists) have a strange curiosity about that infamous light at the end of the tunnel.
Now a team from University Hospital of Liège, Belgium, have been trying to figure out if death is the same for everyone; whether we all go through the same experience or have totally unique ones.
And it seems they may be more personal than we previously thought.
There are some well-known phenomena commonly cited as occurring before death, including seeing a bright light, experiencing a feeling of peace, having an out-of-body experience and perceiving a tunnel.
Author Charlotte Martial said: “The aim of our study was to investigate the frequency distribution of these features, both globally and according to the position of features in narratives, as well as the most frequently reported temporality sequences of the different near-death-experience features.”
In order to do this, the research examined 154 firsthand accounts from individuals who had gone through a near-death-experience, but survived, in order to analyse which different aspects each person had encountered.
They found that on average, a person experiences about four different phenomena during the experience.
The most frequently reported being feeling of peacefulness (80% of participants), seeing a bright light (69%) and encountering with spirits or people (64%).
And the two most uncommon experiences were speeding thoughts (5%) and precognitive visions (4%).
They found that although there were lots of commonalities in what happened, the order in which these things appeared varied.
The most common order of occurrences (reported by 22% of participants) was an out-of-body experience, followed by a tunnel, then a bright light, and finally feeling of peace.
Martial said: “This suggests that near-death-experiences seem to be regularly triggered by a sense of detachment from the physical body and end when returning to one’s body.
″[But] further research is necessary to explore these differences and the precise extent of which content of those experiences reflects their expectations and cultural backgrounds, as well as the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying near-death-experiences.”