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Is It god Or Just REM?
Research suggests all those "white light"/near death experiences have a biological explanation, not a spiritual one:

The US team said the same parts of the brain are activated when people dream as in near death experiences.

The study, in Neurology, compared 55 people who had had near death experiences and 55 who had not.

Those with near death experiences were more likely to have less clearly separated boundaries between sleeping and waking, the scientists found.

People who have had near death experiences commonly report being surrounded by a bright light or gazing down on themselves in an operating theatre.

Many of these sensations are also common to experiences of being in the dream state, or rapid eye movement (REM), stage of sleep, the researchers said.

Thanks, Norm.

Posted by aalkon at April 12, 2006 9:37 AM

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Actually, they can now simulate near death experiences in labs. If you watch Season 1 of Penn and Teller's "Bullshit" TV show, they do a great job of explaining these things! Seriously, I've never met a thinking person w/a sense of humor that didn't absolutely love that show!

Posted by: Kim at April 12, 2006 6:30 PM

Interesting...kind of how scientists believe that most alien abductions or encounters with "ghosts" in the night are just episodes of sleep paralysis.

Posted by: Sheila at April 13, 2006 5:38 AM

I used to work with a dingbat who SWORE that after she watched a couple of scary movies (I think it was Omen and the Seventh Sign or something) a demon hovered in her room over her bed, holding her in place. She thought god was allowing this to happen as punishment for watching movies she "shouldn't have been watching."

When people sleep, their bodies become somewhat paralyzed, because otherwise when you had a dream your body wouldn't know the difference, and you'd be up walking around and probably hurt yourself. (This process doesn't work right with people who sleepwalk.) The opposite can also happen. You can sort of wake up but your body hasn't responded yet, so you can't move your limbs like you can when you're awake. If you just wait a minute the effect goes away.

I guess she just needed to feel special - I'm so important, god actually cares which movies I watch and took time out of his busy day to punish me for watching the wrong ones.

Posted by: Pirate Jo at April 13, 2006 7:55 AM

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