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3/31/09

Near-Death Experiences: Pam Reynolds, Pete Morton, & Fighter Pilots

Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world. All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it. Albert Einstein

Common characteristics following Near Death Experiences: More spirituality; more compassionate; decreased fear of death; greater sense of meaning & purpose; less interested in competition, prestige, personal power, & material possessions. These changes have been corroborated by many investigators & do not diminish over decades.

At 53, Air Force veteran Pete Morton, found himself with Dr. Michael Sabom after he had suffered two cardiac arrests. He had come to Sabom for a heart catheterization at the Gainseville, Florida Veterans Administration Hospital. The year was 1977. Before beginning, Sabom needed to talk with Morton about the man's medical history. After reading physician Raymond Moody's book, Life After Life, he was also interested in compiling patients' accounts of Near Death Experiences (NDEs).

Morton expected the doctor to ask him about his medical history, which did happen, but then Sabom asked a different kind of question. He asked if Pete ever had an NDE. "The room fell silent." Morton seemed to check if anybody was around to overhear what he was about to say. Satisfied they were alone, he told Sabom "he had left his body during his first cardiac arrest and had watched the resuscitation." Pete recalled the resuscitation with "detail and accuracy."

He said that to restore the heartbeat the physician "struck me. And I mean he really whacked me. He came back with his fist from way behind his head and he hit me right in the center of my chest.” Morton had many details in his account, which could not have been recalled had he not been out of his body looking down on the procedure. From Light and Death by Michael Sabom

Then there is the notable case of Pam Reynolds (her stage name), an American singer-songwriter. At 35 in 1991, she experienced an NDE during a brain operation. Her experience is remarkable because, quite simply, her brain had no blood flow, and no brain-wave activity. Under close medical monitoring, she was clinically revealed as dead. She had undergone surgery to repair an aneurism deep inside her brain, on her brain stem. Here is her page, and here is her Wikipedia page. Below is a video describing her amazing story.



Near Death Experiences have been claimed for pilots undergoing G-LOC tests, wherein they are subjected to extreme g-forces, or gravitational pressures. James E. Winnery became involved with research involving fighter pilots volunteering to undergo a giant centrifuge to simulate the extreme conditions that can occur during aerial combat maneuvering such as dog fights. Under extreme g-forces, fighter pilots in the centrifuge lost consciousness and were claimed to have near-death experiences. More.

So far as I can determine, only Winnery has conducted these experiments, and they have not been repeated. Winnery claims that his subjects had experiences comparable to patients with clinical NDE. I have found no other G-LOC research to support his claims of NDEs, which were based on surveys he devised.

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