"DEATHBED VISIONS" > Page 1, 2
Fact or Fantasy?
How many people have deathbed visions? This is unknown since only about 10 percent of dying people are conscious shortly before their deaths. But of this 10 percent, it is estimated, between 50 and 60 percent of them experience these visions. The visions only seem to last about five minutes and are seen mostly by people who approach death gradually, such as those suffering from life-threatening injuries or terminal illnesses.
So what are deathbed visions? How can they be explained? Are they hallucinations produced by dying brains? Delusions produced by drugs in the systems of the patients? Or could the visions of spirits be exactly what they appear to be: a welcome committee of deceased loved ones who have come to ease the transition to life on another plane of existence?
Carla Wills-Brandon attempts to answer these questions in her book, One Last Hug Before I Go: The Mystery and Meaning of Death Bed Visions, which includes many modern-day accounts.
Could they be creations of the dying brain - a kind of self-induced sedative to ease the dying process? Although this is a theory offered by many in the scientific community, Wills-Brandon doesn't agree. "The visitors in the visions were often times deceased relatives who came to offer support to the dying person," she writes. "In some situations, the dying did not know these visitors were already dead." In other words, why would the dying brain only produce visions of people who are dead, whether the dying person knew they were dead or not?
And what about the effects of medication? "Many of the individuals who have these visions are not on medications and are very coherent," writes Wills-Brandon. "Those who are on medications also report these visions, but the visions are similar to those who are not on medications."
We may never know whether these experiences are truly paranormal - that is, until we too pass from this life. But there is one aspect of some deathbed visions that is most difficult to explain and lends most credence to the idea that they are actual visitations of spirits from "the other side." On rare occasions, the spirit entities are seen not only by the dying patient, but also by the friends, relatives and others in attendance!
According to one case documented in the February, 1904 edition of Journal of the Society for Psychic Research, a deathbed apparition was seen by a dying woman, Harriet Pearson, and by three relatives who were in the room.
Two witnesses in attendance of a dying young boy independently claimed to see the spirit of his mother at his bedside.
How the Dying and Their Relatives Benefit
Whether the deathbed visions phenomenon is real or not, the experience is very often beneficial for the people involved. In his book Parting Visions, Melvin Morse writes that visions of a spiritual nature can empower dying patients, making them realize that they have something to share with others. Also, these visions dramatically lessen or completely remove the fear of dying in the patients and are enormously healing to the relatives.
Carla Wills-Brandon believes that deathbed visions can help change our overall attitude about death. "Many people today fear their own death and have difficulty handling the passing of loved ones," she says. "If we can recognize that death is nothing to fear, perhaps we will be able to live life with more fully. Knowing that death is not the end just might resolve some of our fear-based societal difficulties."
Have you or a relative had an experience with a deathbed vision or related phenomenon? Send me your stories for a future article.
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