Hey everybody… it’s Pete.
I have a distant aunt who used to tell me of all the times she almost died. A sample: she was once bit by a black widow spider. The spider was indeed black but examining it on the heel of her shoe there was no way to determine if it had been married. She swore it nearly did her in. Nearly attacked by a bear while camping. Though the bear was never actually seen, there was some evidence that her cooler had been pilfered. Almost fell into an icy river while rafting and could have drowned, she’d tell us. I think there was an asteroid in the mix at one point.
She called these her near-death experiences, and given the frequency of them over her life you’d think some element of the cosmos might have been trying to collect a debt. But no, in fact she passed peacefully in her sleep, surviving the onslaught of perils through which she lived.
In fact, none of these were near-death experiences, no matter how close she might have come to dying. I know this now because our guest today is one of the world’s leading experts on the science and significance of the Near-Death Experience. Bruce Greyson, M.D., is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia and joins us to share his work studying these things and the people who have experienced them over nearly five decades.
What sets Dr. Greyson’s work apart from the rigorous empirical research of my long lost aunt is that his subjects actually died. In some way, shape, or form, they stopped functioning physiologically, had an experience, and came back later. The stories you’ll hear in today’s show serve as a tour through the incredible similarities in those experiences and the work of Dr. Greyson and his team to understand them.
If you’d like to learn more, we encourage you to pick up his book, After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal About Life and Beyond.