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While John Michell has a brief break from this page,another living legend will be taking his place. Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and the author of The Sense of Being Stared at: And Other Aspects of the Extended Mind (Hutchinson, £17.99). His website is Jonathan Cainer

Archive for Thursday 15th April 2004 - Unexplained Powers: Near Death Experiences by Rupert Sheldrake

Rupert Sheldrake image As a result of modern resuscitation methods, more people than ever before are brought back from the brink of death. Most cannot remember anything about it. But about 20 percent have the remarkable experience of floating out of the body and looking down on themselves from above, seeing what is happening in the hospital room. Elizabeth in Portsmouth told me, "I found myself in the corner of the ward up by the ceiling watching several people trying to save me. Later when I was better I told a nurse about the conversations I had heard and mentioned a particular doctor who was wearing an evening suit with a bow tie. She was amazed and said he had been called from an important dinner party." When she was out of her body, Elizabeth said she travelled to a strange place and felt "happy and surrounded by peace and love."

Christine in Bristol recalls, "I was up on the ceiling looking down. I could see the nursing staff looking over me and then I was going through a tunnel of some sorts, all was very light. Suddenly I heard a man's voice telling me to go back."

Other readers have had similar experiences. Often they lose the fear of death.
What is going on? Can the centre of consciousness really leave the body, just as it seems to?
Skeptics try to dismiss these experiences as illusions produced by the abnormal activity of brains starved of oxygen.

Last week I attended a remarkable lecture by an eminent Dutch cardiologist, Dr Pim van Lommel, at a medical conference. He has been studying what happens to patients whose hearts are deliberately stopped during cardiac operations. Within 15 seconds the electrical activity of the brain ceases. With the brain "flatlined", the patient is clinically dead. Such patients have to be revived within five minutes.

Afterwards, some of these patients had a clear memory of a near-death experience. They were conscious at a time when their brains showed no activity at all. According to the standard scientific view, this should not happen. But it does.

Rupert Sheldrake would like to hear from readers who have had near death experiences as a result of drowning. Email Rupert Sheldrake's researcher, with subject heading: Rupert Sheldrake.

Rupert Sheldrake

John Michell would love to hear about your experience of any unusual or unexplained phenomena.
If you have a favourite mystery subject - from spontaneous human combustion to ancient Celtic ritual sites, write to John, suggesting a theme. And if you have any answers or theories about the mysteries John will be highlighting, he would particularly like to hear from you.

Email mystery@cainer.comwith subject heading: John Michell
Please note, we regret that due to time restrictions personal replies may not be available.

John Michell is a prolific author. Below are just two of John's books which might interest you:

The Rough Guide to Unexplained Phenomena
John Michell and Bob Rickard - A fascinating collection. Look up anything from urban legends to recorded unexplained phenomena - to the existance of ghosts. All presented in an organised, easy to follow manner, in related categories. A complete index and accompanying pictures with each entry. Excellent reference - excellent read.
Who Wrote Shakespeare?
Was the most famous poet and writer of all time a fraud and a plagiarist? Was Shakespeare the "upstart crow" described by Greene as strutting in borrowed feathers, or Jonson's "Poet-Ape" who patched plays together from others' work? John Michell's witty investigation of the theories and claims reads like a series of detective stories. By the end of the book even the most faithful disciples of the Bard will find themselves asking, "Who Wrote Shakespeare?"

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