Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is It Safe to Die? Negative NDE's, Part III

Dr. M. Rawlings, Cardiologist

Not all NDEs are warm and fuzzy

Tamara Laroux related on CBN that as a young woman she was despondent due to a divorce, so she shot herself in the chest. She found herself in hell. She heard people there cry out to people on earth, don’t come here. Her misery and depression was greatly magnified there. Perhaps because she asked God to forgive her before she pulled the trigger, Tamara actually was given a second chance. The hand of God pulled her out of a place of burning torment and misery and pulled her over heaven, which was exquisitely beautiful. Then that same hand brought her back to her body. She again asked for forgiveness and recovered fully. A brief clip of her story can be found at

Tamara’s story wound up on Among the comments below the clip was one by a woman named Kat who also tried suicide and went to hell but was pulled back. She had previously lost a son. He met her there, and she promised him she would never try suicide again. Kat’s brief testimony was as compelling to me as Tamara’s.

Dr. Maurice Rawlings was skeptical about reported NDE experiences until a 43-year-old postman named Charles McKaig dropped dead in his office. McKaig flatlined several times, but during lucid moments he pleaded to be resuscitated because every time he lost consciousness, he found himself in a literal hell. He insisted that the doctor help him pray the sinner’s prayer. Dr. Rawlings barely knew how to do it, but they stumbled through the prayer together. Several days later, McKaig could not recall saying anything about hell. He did recall meeting deceased relatives over there. He remembered saying the sinner’s prayer with Dr. Rawlings, and he did become a devout Christian after his experience.

A new understanding

That episode literally scared the ‘hell’ out of both of them. Rawlings began his own quest to understand what happened that day. He began a study of world religions, including his own Christian upbringing. He listened to afterlife tales from other medical personnel, and he began to listen closely to the experiences of his own patients. And of course, he began reading the books of afterlife researchers who had already written books on the subject. Over time, considering the tales he heard from other doctors and nurses, he concluded that there were as many negative experiences as positive.

He wrote two books to specifically deal with the negative experiences, because he felt that the trend in NDE research was so slanted toward the positive that people were in danger of being too blasé about what awaits us all on the other side. Beyond Death’s Door (1978) was followed by To Hell and Back in 1993. He writes, “While a positive case may say, ‘I’ll never be afraid of death again, it was so beautiful over there,’ the negative case might say, ‘It’s not dying I’m afraid of. It’s returning to that awful place again’” [Hell and Back, 32]. The negative experiences often include “grotesque” people or entities “lurking in the shadows along a lake of fire. The horrors defy description and are difficult to recall” [Death’s Door, 45].

A case in point: A physician in California shared the story of a friend of his. “At the height of his success, no one could have known he was so despondent. He told me he was searching for more than life had to offer. I didn’t understand him myself. I should have listened, because that night I was called to his home in Beverly Hills and found him on the floor with a bullet wound through his mouth. He revived to consciousness and responded to resuscitation for a while before he died. I asked him if he hurt. He shook his head and said no. I told him we were going to try to save him. He nodded in agreement. His last words were, ‘I’m scared. Don’t let me go back to hell. I can see it now.’ I don’t know what he saw” [Death’s Door, p. 37].

Rawlings writes that pacemakers save lives, but often are the cause of clinical death. One man whose pacemaker failed was resuscitated by Rawlings himself. The patient claimed that he went flying through a blazing tunnel and arrived at a huge lake of fire burning like an oil spill. People were moving aimlessly about, like animals in a zoo enclosure. He spied an old friend who had died. He hailed him, but his friend Jim did not respond or smile. Jim was taken around a corner where he was heard screaming. The heart patient tried to run by there was no way out. He started yelling, “Jesus is God. Jesus is God!” He suddenly found himself on the operating table being stitched up with a new pacemaker [Hell and Back, 71].

In a 1992 documentary called “A Glimpse of Glory,” a young man named Lee Merritt told of being in a dark tunnel with demons within the walls. “The darkness was so real you could touch it and it would burn” [Hell and Back, 74].

A crusader is born - with a new slant on NDEs

Rawlings explains that NDE’s have multiplied in recent decades due to vastly improved methods of resuscitation. Whether on the war front or in the ICU, many who would have died in 1940 are spared today. He encourages medical personnel to quit avoiding the issue and begin to record what people tell them, much like Drs. Raymond Moody, John Lerma, and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. That is not to say that there were no negative NDE’s before the 70’s. Another tale cited by Rawlings occurred in Canada in 1948. Hell was described there as dark, hot, dry, crushing, lonely, and full of agony [M. Ford, On the Other Side, 1978].

The deeper he probed into the topic, the more Rawlings realized that a dangerous trend had developed in the field. He noticed that people tended to effectively remember the positive experiences, but if negative ones are not noted immediately, the patient will soon forget them. Thus, psychiatrists like Moody and Kubler-Ross, who interview patients much later, will find a strong bias toward positive experiences.

Furthermore, he claims that he offered to share some of his findings with known and published researchers. All declined. Only one explained that the new information would conflict with what had already been published. Among those authors, including Dr. Kenneth Ring, a new religion began to develop called the Omega concept. This New Age-like movement included out of body experiences (OBE’s), remote viewing, UFO’s, and all manner of paranormal phenomena.

Dr. Rawlings raises the question of why some who are clearly not prepared to face the being of light do see him/it and feel the unconditional love and non-judgment. He suggests the possibility that the light is really the fulfillment of Paul the Apostle’s warning that Satan himself can transform himself into an Angel of Light (2 Corinthians 11:14, 15). Some of the warm and fuzzy experiences have given after-life researchers the idea that God is love, therefore no one will ever be judged negatively on the other side. This completely contradicts New Testament statements of Jesus Christ that on the Day of Judgment there will be a great separation of souls. Jesus also made it abundantly clear that those who corrupt and abuse children will wish they had never been born when they arrive in the great By and By. That includes Catholic priests and evangelical ministers who abuse those in their congregation. Even those who claimed to have done miracles in the name of Jesus will not be safe if their lives are full of corruption and sin (Matthew 7:22).

In this post, I have not at all exhausted all the narratives provided by Dr. Maurice Rawlings. His research seems broad, varied, and impeccable. This could be one of the most important books written in the previous century. He cannot claim to have all the answers as to the mystery of what happens when we die, but the trend in afterlife research is in fact answering many of those questions.

There will always be mysteries. For instance, in one of Whitely Strieber’s books a woman who was close to death saw an alien who told her that soon he would come to take her away. She responded, “But you are ugly!” The alien retorted something to the effect, “Just wait, sister. Soon you’ll look just like me.”

I may take a break from this topic for a while, but I’m not at all done with it. A near future post may deal with the crash my father’s plane in Colorado, which is also a study in the paranormal. Then back to the negative near death experiences.

Don’t forget that there is a box at the top of this post where you can search the whole blog. There is another box where you can sign up for email alerts when a new post goes up. I never see who signs up for those alerts unless you join as a follower.

For foreign readers, to aid in translation, check out the wonderful dictionaries and forums available online.