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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 04-Aug-16 12:29:02

Is there an afterlife?

While we're unlikely ever to know for sure, says author Theresa Cheung, there are a startling number of accounts from those who have had near death experiences that point towards the possibility of an afterlife. What do you think?

Theresa Cheung

Is there an afterlife?

Posted on: Thu 04-Aug-16 12:29:02


Lead photo

Do you believe in life after death?

It’s unlikely that we will ever have solid scientific proof that there is life after death, but we do have something that comes extremely close and that is accounts of people who have actually died and returned to tell their stories.

These voyagers to frontiers unknown report astonishing glimpses of a world beyond, a world that shimmers with light, magic and love. Hailey sent me her story:

"In 2005 I nearly died on the operating table. I haemorrhaged and my doctor later told me that everyone thought they had lost me. I recall floating above my body and seeing the surgeon and staff panic as they tried to save my life. I didn't feel any panic myself. It was as if I was watching an interesting novelty. I wasn't involved.

Suddenly, I felt myself being blown feet first into a grey mist. I don't know why but I remember seeing my legs and bare feet bathed in yellow light floating into the mist. When I was in the mist I lived my life again. Can't explain it very well but I remembered everything and again there was that feeling of interested detachment. I wasn't involved. I just watched. Then I found myself in this beautiful place. It was the most gorgeous and glittering place I have ever seen – like a garden but so much more than a garden. I felt nothing but completeness and happiness. My mind was still. I heard music but music that I have not heard on earth before and the scenery about me was like nothing I have seen on earth either – it was so vivid and beautiful. It shimmered like crystal and diamonds. Then everything vanished and the next thing I recall is waking up feeling very sore and tired in the recovery room.

I don't know why but I remember seeing my legs and bare feet bathed in yellow light floating into the mist. When I was in the mist I lived my life again.

Everyone who knows me will tell you that afterwards I changed. I know I have changed. It sounds corny but I feel like I was somehow born again, starting my life again. I am more compassionate and considerate of myself and others. I live in the present. I'm not afraid to be loving and spontaneous. I see more clearly now."

Near death experiences (NDEs) occur when a person is clinically dead or dangerously close to death. There are many questions about NDEs but one thing is certain and that is they exist. There are thousands of reports from people who believe they have glimpsed life after death, and a recent scientific study led by Dr Sam Parnia from the University of Southampton, has tentatively proved that consciousness can survive bodily death by at least three minutes.

Initially, when I began to collect afterlife encounter stories, I thought the experience was extremely rare, but I could not have been more wrong. Over the years the stories have flooded in and one reason for that may be modern resuscitation techniques because thirty or forty years ago these people would have died and taken their golden stories with them.

Not surprisingly, there have been many doubts about the validity of NDEs and chief among these is the argument that the experience is simply a hallucination but this cannot explain why all over the world and throughout history thousands of men, women and children have reported similar sensations during NDEs despite radical differences in cultures and belief systems. How is that possible? Surely, if the experience was hallucination wouldn't each person imagine something different? Why are there such strong similarities? Why after their NDE do people consistently report that they have lost their fear of death?

Theresa's book The Ten Secrets of Heaven: Mysteries of the Afterlifeis published in paperback by Simon & Schuster, and is available from Amazon. You can also find Theresa on Facebook here.

By Theresa Cheung

Twitter: @simonschuster

GandTea Thu 04-Aug-16 12:36:11

No, when we are dead, that's it, recycle time.

Gagagran Thu 04-Aug-16 12:44:55

I think the brain is mis-firing somehow and projecting these visions/experiences - whatever you call them - before it either closes down for ever or clicks back to normal.

I agree with GandT that when you die - that's it.

tanith Thu 04-Aug-16 12:47:15

No that's it your time is done but we live on in the hearts and minds of offspring smile

AlieOxon Thu 04-Aug-16 13:00:44

- and friends, parents, relatives....

BlueBelle Thu 04-Aug-16 13:07:29

Absolutely, dead is dead, that's it no alternative I don't think.... I used to believe there was when I was young and want there to be, but my reality tells me that's it, time over

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 13:28:57

Goodness me!! How depressing! Even if there isn't an afterlife, I would find it very boring not thinking about all the possibilities and how it would be. Even theories are more interesting than just be living there's nothing out/up there for us.

FarNorth Thu 04-Aug-16 13:35:56

When my DH was very ill, as a young child, he had an experience of seeing some people waiting for him then hearing a voice say "No, it's not his time yet."

It may have been imagination but it's unlikely he would have had any cause to imagine such a thing, at a young age.

As an adult, he retained complete confidence that all would be well, after his death.

Anniebach Thu 04-Aug-16 13:46:15

As a Christian then my answer is yes there is

soop Thu 04-Aug-16 14:16:13

We die and become "moon dust". We live on in the memory of those who love us. End of...

sunseeker Thu 04-Aug-16 14:24:18

I believe there is an afterlife. My grandmother, the most down to earth practical person you could wish to meet, was ill and when I visited her she started talking about her coming death. When I remonstrated with her she just said she knew she was going to die because she had seen my grandfather and my uncle and they had come to show her the way. She died later that day. I often feel the presence of my late DH in the house. When I was recovering from an operation for cancer I saw my late father standing by the side of my bed, he smiled and told me I was going to be fine.

Luckygirl Thu 04-Aug-16 15:16:42

I believe that these near death experiences are the product of the brain shutting down. But it is comforting to know that these brain-induced illusions might be with us at the point of death.

I think we came from the stardust and we return to the stardust - our atoms go back to spinning around in the cosmic soup.

hulahoop Thu 04-Aug-16 15:36:20

I like to think but think you are right gagagran I have seen a lot of people die and a lot of them with a smile if it is brain misfiring it appears to take the fear away which can't be bad if like me you are frightened of dying

Anya Thu 04-Aug-16 15:56:27


rosesarered Thu 04-Aug-16 15:56:46

Hmmmn, I agree it could be the dying brain sending calming thoughts /visions, as when a person has a high fever, they see all sorts of things.The only thing that is odd though, and that the brain cannot do, is for you to be floating over the top of yourself and seeing the scene in front of you happening, and almost all these tales are the same in that respect.So, the consciousness or spirit does leave the body at death and appears not to worry about it.

clarriecat Thu 04-Aug-16 16:04:10

I believe there has to be an afterlife. I had a message from my mother via a medium who told me exactly what I had been doing that morning and who had been in the house with me and all sorts of other things that the medium couldn't possibly have known. It was the first time I had met her! Also just as my mother in law passed, she had a radiant smile on her face as if in recognition of a loved one coming to meet her. I'm a great believer that this life is not the end!

Anzza Thu 04-Aug-16 16:17:58

I think to experience whatever this is, is beautiful. I love that this is part of our mystery. Scientifically it's been explained and I'm a great believer in it and the power of the brain and dreams. The brain is an organ we can't fathom. It's just a shame we coincidentally only experience it the moment of near death. Our brains are amazing controllers. I believe there is nothing when we die, like a plant lives and dies. But who knows? Nobody..... Absolutely nobody!

Jane10 Thu 04-Aug-16 17:03:01

I just hope there is!

soop Thu 04-Aug-16 17:27:40

On reflection, I think that I should have said "stardust" matter...I believe that we are recycled. If so, I'm all for it. smile

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 17:48:31

I always find it difficult that someone as genuinely nice as you Soop, doesn't believe in spiritual things. No way would I. Wish to be nasty, but I have thought this before. Was there some incident that put you off the idea of higher beings, states of existence? Or should I not be so damn nosy!!??

KatyK Thu 04-Aug-16 17:49:47

I hope not. I'm not going through all this again. Having said that, when my young nephew was dying of leukaemia, as he took his last breath he leaned forward on his pillow and gave a thumbs up sign. sad Makes you think.

Maranta Thu 04-Aug-16 17:59:30

Why should there be? Is there an afterlife for an ant? A slug? A puffin? I think not, so why should we be any different.

Luckygirl Thu 04-Aug-16 18:01:47

Being a nice person and having spiritual beliefs do not necessarily correlate. There are lots of wonderful and truly horrible people on both ends of the belief spectrum.

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 18:18:04

Of course, you are right. I find it hard to imagine that truly awful people would be interested in a heavenly existence. Perhaps I've built up a very rosy picture because I haven't got the guts to contemplate the alternative. Not having had a very good life, I'm probably try I g to compensate myself with ideas of a better future.

wot Thu 04-Aug-16 18:20:40

And what happens to all the wisdom and knowledge gained in some people's life times?? How can it all disappear? Perhaps I'm naive.