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Melbourne August 15, 2009

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A near­death experience ( NDE ) refers to a broad range of extraordinary personal experiences associated with impending death, meditation or a spontaneous onset. It is safe to say that a NDE is a profound psychological and spiritual phenomenon. In the past NDEs were therefore reported as visions, mystical and religious experiences.

This web site is an online network for NDErs, their friends and families and health professionals. As a network, different areas of interest and needs are touched on.

On this home page, initial information is provided to exhibit that NDEs are not considered unique; to stress that people who undergo them are not insane; and to give guidance for appropriate supports. Alternatively, you may choose to start with the sitemap to find specific information of your interest.

For an extensive archive of testimonials please link to the NDERF's website.

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Near Death Experiencers


Near Death Experiencers are a subgroup of people who come close to physical death or may have recovered after being declared dead and as a group display common features in their conscious experience of this event and a consequent transformative process.

Following a Near Death Experience (NDE) people have altered beliefs, attitudes and behaviours.

It is estimated that on average 8 years of a transformative process are needed for an individual after a NDE to be mentally healthy.

A Near Death Experience is not associated with a mental disorder.

Although most NDEs are pleasant, a small percentage are distressing, that is, dominated by feelings such as fear, isolation, or torment.

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Paradiso, Canto I


detail of Alex Grey Universal Mind Lattice by Alex Grey


The glory of Him who sets all things in motion
Cleaves through the universe, and it flames again
In different places with a different force.  

I have been to that heaven where His light
Beams brightest and seen things that none, returning,
Has the knowledge or the power to repeat,  

Because, as it draws near to its desire,
Our intellect sinks down to such a depth
That memory cannot trace its way back there.  

Nevertheless, whatever I could treasure
Up in my mind about that sacred kingdom
Shall now become the subject of my song.

Dante Alighieri (1265 ­1321)

For an extensive archive of testimonials please link to the NDERF's website.

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Australian Attention


  • Media Attention: 1990, Kerry Packer's NDE.
    When Kerry Packer was quizzed as to whether he'd had a classical "near death experience" floating out of his body, moving towards the light and so on, he reportedly told those close to him not to fool themselves because there was nothing out there.


  • Media Attention: Lateline , ABC, broadcast 30/10/2000:
    A team led by one of Britain's leading neuropsychiatrists, Dr Peter Fenwick interviewed people who'd literally been brought back from the dead as soon as they were able to speak. What they found surprised even hard headed scientists on the team. A significant number of people recalled remarkable experiences even after their brains were considered dead.


  • Perera et al in 2005 conducted a telephone survey of a representative sample of the Australian population, as part of the Roy Morgan Catibus Survey , and concluded that 8% of the population had experienced an NDE.
    ( Mahendra Perera,Gayan Padmasekara, and John Belanti, Prevalence of Near­Death Experiences in Australia, 2005, Journal of Near­Death Studies 24 (2) pp. 109 ­116)


  • Media Attention: The Today Show (Ch 9) Life after death? October 17, 2008: Anthropologist Dr Stephen Juan discussed near death experiences.
    (ninemsn video)


  • Research by Cherry Sutherland (1992) on NDEers in Australia, concluded that the NDE should be seen not only as a force for profound personal transformation, but also as a force for positive social change. ( A very different way: A sociological investigation of life after a near­death experience by Sutherland, Cherie Olga , Ph.D., University of New South Wales (Australia) , 1992) Following is the abstract:

This study has as its central concern the investigation of life after a near­death experience (NDE). The problem was initially to discover whether changes had come about in the lives of a sample of near­death experiencers as a result of their NDE. Once this was established, the nature and extent of these changes was then examined. Underlying this investigation there was also an attempt to discover how near­death experiencers actually 'managed' their lives, and whether, and how, they were able to integrate the experience. Finally, there was an interest in finding a way to conceptualise the complexity of this integration process.

Detailed interviews were conducted and recorded with a sample of fifty near­death experiencers, who were selected by 'availability sampling' and represented a wide range of demographic variables. Using a semi­structured or 'focussed' interview schedule eight main areas were covered: demographic information, details of the NDE, attitudes to death, religious/spiritual affiliations, psychic sensitivities, life direction (including attitudes to self and others), lifestyle priorities, and attitudes to social issues. In addition, further data was later gathered for a 'grounded theory' analysis, via 'theoretical sampling' primarily within the transcripts of interview, but also within an extensive correspondence, and the 'field notes' of individual and group meetings. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted on the results.

The results show that a wide range of changes occur following an NDE. Experiencers no longer have any fear of death, they have a firm belief in an afterlife, and they report a noticeable increase in psychic sensitivities. They describe a strong commitment to spiritual growth but a movement away from organised religion. There is a definite shift to a more positive view of self and a more accepting, loving and compassionate attitude to others. They report a marked change in interests and an increase in concern with social issues, which often results in study and career change. The grounded theoretical analysis further discerned a pattern in the way NDErs manage to integrate the experience into their lives, and this was named the 'integration trajectory'.

It was concluded that, in view of the fact that five percent of the population have had such an experience, the NDE should be seen not only as a force for profound personal transformation, but also as a force for positive social change.



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Who gets a NDE?

No significant association was discovered between NDEs and

  • Social class
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Level of education
  • Profession
  • Marital status
  • Place of residence
  • Pre­knowledge of NDEs
  • Religious practice

Situations in which a NDE may occur:

­ Brain function is severely impaired: cardiac arrest, coma, hypovolemic shock, general anaesthesia, electrocution.

­ Brain function is intact: high fever, extreme dehydration and/or hypothermia, major depressive crisis, meditation, impending unavoidable death and spontaneous onset.

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Early S & S of a Mental Health Problem


  • Extreme need to talk about the NDE.
  • Anger, sadness and depression to be back on earth.
  • NDE is everything, life on earth is dull and boring.
  • Feeling rejected by those who didn't experience a NDE.

  • Afraid to be declared mad.
  • Incapacity to put NDE into words.
  • No unconditional love experienced from earthly relationships.
  • Not knowing what to do with the heightened intuition.

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Early Intervention

During the NDE:

  • Avoid statements that implicate a hopeless situation and explain procedures.
  • Stand at the head of the bed. (Morse, 1994)
  • Hold the patient's hand. (Sommers 1994, Bucher et al, 1997)
  • Let the family be present. (Simpson, 2001)

After the NDE:

  • Ask questions to open­the­door (Duffy and Olson, 2007):
    • Some people have an unusual experience while they're unconscious. Did you?
    • You look very peaceful. Is there a reason for that?
    • Did you have an unusual dream?
    • Did you have a sense of being separate from your body while you were being revived
  • Be a good listener. Share the story. Remain non­judgemental and do not explain the experience. (Simpson, 2001; James, 2004; Duffy and Olson, 2007)
  • Verify the patient's experience and acknowledge others have shared similar experiences. (Simpson, 2001; James, 2004; Duffy and Olson, 2007)
  • Inform/Educate colleagues and/or family (Simpson, 2001; James, 2004; Duffy and Olson, 2007)
  • Referral to:
    ­ Support organisations
    ­ Reference materials
    ­ GP and/or Specialists

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  • Bucher L; Wimbush FB; Hardie T; Hayes ER (1997) APPLIED RESEARCH. Near death experiences: critical care nurses' attitudes and interventions. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing (DCCN), 1997 Jul­Aug; 16(4): 194­201 (20 ref)
  • Crisp & Taylor (2009) Potter & Perry's fundamentals of nursing, 3rd Edition, Elsevier Australia
  • Dougherty C.M. (1990) The near­death experience as a major life transition. Holistic Nursing Practice 4, 84­90.
  • Duffy N; Olson M (2007) Supporting a patient after a near­death experience. Nursing (NURSING), 37(4): 46­8 (6 ref)
  • Greyson B. (1997) The near­death experience as a focus of clinical attention. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 185(5), 327­334
  • James D. (2004) What Emergency Staff Need To Know About NDEs. Top Emergency Medicine Vol.26 pp29­34 n Moody R.A. (1975) Life After Life. Mockingbird Books, Covington, GA.
  • Pim van Lommel, Ruud van Wees, Vincent Meyers, Ingrid Elfferich (2001) Near­death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands Lancet vol.358 pp 2039­45
  • Morse M.L. (1994) Near­death experiences of children. Journal of
    Pediatric Oncology Nursing 11, 139±144.

  • Ring K. (1980) Life at Death. Quill, New York.
  • Robertson SC Defining health and health­related behaviors following a near­death experience. University of San Diego, 2006; Ph.D. (165 p)
    doctoral dissertation ­ research
  • Sartory P., Badham P.,Fenwick P. (2007) A Prospectively Studied Near­Death Experience with Corroborated Out­of­Body Perceptions and Unexplained Healing Journal of Near­Death Studies ndst­25­02­02.3d
  • Simpson S.M. (2001) Near death experience: a concept analysis as applied to nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing 36(4), 520±526
  • Sommers M.S. (1994) The near­death experience following multiple
    trauma. Critical Care Nurse 14, 62±66.
  • Sutherland C. (1990) Changes in religious beliefs, attitudes, and practice following near­death experiences. Journal of Near Death Studies 9, 21­31.
  • Sutherland, Cherie Olga. A very different way: A sociological investigation of life after a near­death experience ProQuest Dissertations and Theses 01/01/1992. Vol.0626,Iss.0423;p.1
  • Sutherland C. Near­death experience by proxy: A case study . Journal of Near­Death Studies June, 1990. Vol.8,Iss.4;

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