Paranormalists often point to the commonalities of near death and out-of-body experiences as evidence of the proof of an afterlife or astral projection. Turns out there is a more mundane — though fascinating — explanation. These experiences are common because that’s how we’re all wired in the noodle:
The doctors believe they are seeing the brain’s neurons discharge as they lose oxygen from lack of blood pressure.
“All the neurons are connected together and when they lose oxygen, their ability to maintain electrical potential goes away,” Chawla said. “I think when people lose all their blood flow, their neurons all fire in very close proximity and you get a big domino effect. We think this could explain the spike.”
It’s possible a cutoff of oxygen would trigger a similar but recoverable event that becomes seared into memory.
“Not everyone reports this light sort of business. What you hear most often reported (in near-death experiences) is just a vivid memory,” Chawla said.