First They Were Dead, Then They Weren’t

First They Were Dead, Then They Weren't

They say nothing is certain but death and taxes. But as you may have experienced, is death certain? Some patients die and then come back again. What happens to them? The experience is as individual as the patient. Here is what some of them had to say.

Insights on the ‘Formerly Dead’

National Geographic published an interview with Journalist Judy Bachrach who has spent years interviewing people with near-death experiences. She is the author of “Glimpsing Heaven: The Stories and Science of Life After Death”, and has interesting insights on people she calls the “formerly dead”. She says that scientists who try to dismiss near-death experiences by attributing it to a lack of oxygen are wrong. “The less oxygen you have, the less you remember. But the people who have died, and recall their death travels, describe things in a very clear, concise, and structured way. Lack of oxygen would mean you barely remember anything.”

For example, Bachrach interviewed a neurosurgeon who had a near-death experience. He didn’t mention it to his colleagues for 20 years, fearing ridicule and being ostracized by his peers.

First They Were Dead, Then They Weren't

“Tony Cicoria was on a picnic with his family, talking to his mother on the telephone, when a bolt of lightning hit the phone. The next thing he knew, he was lying on the ground saying to himself, ‘Oh, my God, I’m dead.’  He knew he was dead because he saw his mother-in-law screaming at him but when he called out to her and said, ‘I’m here! I’m here!’ she didn’t hear anything.

Next, he was travelling up a flight of steps without walking. He became a bolt of blue light and managed to go through a building. He flew through walls, and he saw his little kids having their faces painted. Right after that, he felt somebody thumping on his chest. A nurse who was in the vicinity was thumping on his chest. But he did not want to come back to life. He wanted to stay dead.”

HuffPost reported on those who had near death experiences.

First They Were Dead, Then They Weren't

“It was peaceful. No lights, no pearly gates, no angels, just peace. I was in a horrible car wreck and I had a blood clot go through my heart and I died for a bit. When I woke up everyone was yelling at me to breathe. I was pissed off because not only was I certain that I was indeed breathing, I had just been woken from the first quality sleep since my wreck. There’s nothing but peace and comfort on the other side.”


First They Were Dead, Then They Weren't

“I got hit by a car when I was three. My heart stopped for just shy of two minutes. I had a really weird out of body experience. It was like I was looking down. My mom was sobbing and my dad was literally holding her arms to keep her from coming to me while they all were swarming me. There was this equipment and yelling. I saw it through a toddler’s eyes so I guess that’s how I remember it.

“I got this feeling like it’s time to go, so I watched my mom as I left. I got sucked into a vacuum, it felt like I ended up in this space that was empty. It wasn’t black it was just simply void. It felt like when you need a hug the most, when you are at your very worst. When a single kind touch will make your emotions burst. That times a million. Then it all blacked out, I woke up in an ICU and was terrified of the beeping and tubes and screamed until my dad came and comforted me.”


First They Were Dead, Then They Weren't

“I almost died from drowning last year and the experience changed me. I had been dead for an unknown amount of minutes. But they managed to pull me out of the water and revive me. I do not know how long I was dead. They say it took two minutes to revive me on the beach. Basically, all I saw was blackness, followed by many lights, lights became stars and stars turned into something I cannot describe. I did not feel anything.”


In honor of Halloween, here are some stories that are a little more chilling:

First They Were Dead, Then They Weren't

No Time for an Autopsy

On January 7, 2018, Gonzalo Montoya Jiménez was discovered unresponsive in his jail cell in northern Spain. Three forensic doctors reportedly examined him and declared him dead. His body was taken away for an autopsy, and the marks for the procedure were even drawn on him. But then Jiménez began snoring – four hours after he had supposedly died. The confusion likely arose from Jiménez’s condition; he had epilepsy, which can sometimes trigger a deep, trance-like state.

Kick that Body Bag

In 2014, Walter Williams, a farmer from Holmes County, MS, was pronounced dead. The next day, morgue workers saw his body bag moving – Williams was kicking it from the inside. The 76-year-old man was taken to a hospital and released to his shocked family a few days later. He lived two more weeks before actually dying of natural causes. One possible theory for the incident is that William’s defibrillator restarted his heart while he was in the body bag

Premature Death Rumors

A prostitute in Zimbabwe “died” during a hotel romp with a client – only to come back to life as her body was being put in a coffin. The vice girl reportedly collapsed during a sex session at the Manor Hotel in Bulaweyo. Convinced that she was dead, her shocked client called the police, who sent paramedics to collect the body.

But as they were loading the “corpse” into a metal coffin, the hooker suddenly woke up screaming. Local news reports claim that she leapt from the casket, yelling, “You want to kill me, you want to kill me.”

You get the point. Death isn’t always certain, and sometimes it can be downright frightening – especially when the dead aren’t dead at all. Around Halloween – better be sure, very, very sure.

Deborah Chiaravalloti is an award-winning writer and former hospital executive. Her insider experience helps healthcare clients launch medical procedures, products including artificial intelligence software and knowledge sharing platforms. Deborah writes websites, blogs, opinion pieces, and marketing strategy for elder care, health care consumerism, revenue cycle management (RCM), and the business of healthcare. Her printed pieces have been published and her radio shows syndicated nationally.

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