What happens after we die? Does life continue beyond our physical form? These are questions that have intrigued humans for centuries. Our ancestors proposed many theories, but the science and technology of today have provided us with the tools to study and answer these questions. Well, to try and answer them, anyway. We're yet to draw any conclusions.
Still, from paranormal activity to near-death experiences, modern research has taken a closer look at the possible phenomenon of life after death, including accounts from those who've experienced it for themselves.
Life After Death
When it comes to the debate of what happens after we die, there's no person with working knowledge that we can refer to for definitive answers. It's not something that can be properly studied in its entirety either, as it's not something that can give conclusive results without some seriously questionable ethical violations.
The closest we have to experts on the topic are those who were temporarily declared dead before waking back up. One such woman had that exact thing happen to her, and her experience makes for quite an eerie story.
An Important Message
In 2018, Tina Hines suffered a cardiac arrest while with her husband, Brian. Though Brian tried his best to resuscitate her, she died right in front of him.
On the way to the hospital, Tina was revived a whopping six times by the medics, having spent 27 minutes total time 'dead.'
It wasn't until she was intubated at the hospital that she finally awoke fully, but she was behaving strangely once she did, immediately asking for a pen and paper.
What She Saw
The nurses provided her with what she asked for, watching her scribble down two chilling words that she wanted to remember so she could tell her family about them.
When asked what was real, she simply nodded upwards in response.
"It was so real, the colors were so vibrant," Tina told AZfamily.com in an interview. She even said she saw a figure that she believes is Jesus during her minutes spent dead, though she wasn't able to recall any interactions she had with him.
She's Not Alone
Experiences like Hines' aren't entirely uncommon when it comes to those who have temporarily died.
According to studies, most people have no memory of any time spent dead, but between 10-20% report some sort of either visual or sensory episode while away from their bodies.
Studies like this have urged researchers to continue looking into the phenomenon, and every time they get a bit closer to discovering the real answer to the question 'What happens when we die?'.
In a 2013 study, a team at the University of Michigan used rats to record brain activity at the moment of death.
What did they find? Turns out the brain is extremely active in the moments just before death, even more so than during our waking lives.
Ths study's leader, Dr Jimo Borjigin, said, "A lot of people thought that the brain after clinical death was inactive or hypoactive, with less activity than the waking state, and we show that is definitely not the case."
Could That Be The Explanation?
"If anything, it is much more active during the dying process than even the waking state."
The study involved nine rats that were monitored while they were dying. In the 30-second period after their hearts stopped beating, the team measured a very stark increase in high-frequency brainwaves.
Of course, this study was done with rats and not humans, but it wouldn't come as a surprise if human brains functioned similarly, and it would explain why there are so many stories of people seeing visions of the afterlife while others remember nothing.
"Many of them think it's evidence they actually went to heaven — perhaps even spoke with God," Borjigin says.
Peace In Unknowing
This woman's story serves as a reminder of the mystery that still remains around life and death.
Though current studies may attempt to measure brain activity levels around death, the possibility of an afterlife still remains to be proven. To gain more insight into these theories, further studies involving research and storytelling must be done to create a full picture of life after death, though some are content not knowing what awaits them on the other side.
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