We are how we die

Ransom Riggs

Whether you believe near-death experiences imply a plane of existence beyond our own, or are nothing more than the misfirings of a traumatized brain, you've got to admit, they're pretty interesting. While many features of NDEs are common throughout the world -- the sensation of floating above your own body, the long dark tunnel, strange loud noises -- the cultural differences say a lot about who were are. For instance:

  • Many Africans interpret near-death experiences as somewhat evil, a bad omen or a sign that they were somehow "bewitched."
  • Among 400 Japanese NDErs that participated in a study, many reported seeing long, dark rivers and beautiful flowers, two common symbols that frequently appear as images in Japanese art.
  • East Indians sometimes see Heaven as a giant bureaucracy, and frequently report being sent back because of clerical errors.
  • Americans and Brits often say they are sent back for love or in order to perform a job or task.
  • Natives of Micronesia often visualize Heaven as a large, brightly lit American city with loud, noisy cars and tall buildings.

Anyone have a similar experience they'd like to share? (The closest I've ever come to death was falling out of the oak tree in my backyard as a kid and bumping my head; no big thing.)