Ok, just to put this down, I have been on an extended LOA from the site to do college and my summer.
Now, to the topic: In a "typical good clinical death experience," a certain sequence of events is generally followed, summarized in the list below. Before reading the list, you should note that not all people report every stage, as would be expected when the ego effects the thinking process. (also note that I cite Phil Phillips's book Angels Angels Angels) The person:
1. Senses he is dying and begins to feel blissful.
2. Leaves his body, is surprised to see the body remaining behind, and has a heightened state of euphoria.
3. Is unable to communicate with the living but may recall details of the room, various procedures being done to their bodies, or what people say.
4. Enters an area of darkness, commonly described as a tunnel.
5. Moves at increasing speed and encounters a light.
6. This "light" turns out to be a "being of light," known or unknown. The person may have a sense of blending with the light. Sometimes the being is someone from the person's past, or it may be a religious entity, and sometimes even Jesus Himself. This being ALWAYS seems very familiar and loving. (note the reverse of what is reported here also happens. Will explain more in the post.)
7. Enters a new world, usually a garden. The person often reports hearing music, singing, or beautiful sound.
8. May experience a panoramic life review. Thought seems to replace the need for speech.
9. May have an encounter with relatives or friends who have died previously.
10. Enters a world that is exquisite beyond words, filled with beauty and sights that cannot be described.
11. May encounter a barrier, such as a fence, wall, or river. Attempting to pass this barrier, he is often told to return to life or that it is time to go back to the body.
12. Returns to the body, often with an understanding that this was "not their time."
Dr Susan Blackmore of the Brain and Perception Laboratory at Bristol University has an explanation for the tunnel, and I will add some more of my own knowledge from a dream hypothesis.
"The vital cells that normally regulate the activity in the visual sector of the brain-the visual cortex- are seriously inhibited by the increasing lack of sensory information. This destabilizes the normal visual controls, producing stripes of irregular activity. As this information travels between the retina of the eye and the brain, the stripes are interpreted as being concentric rings, tunnels, or undulating spirals, light in the center and darker at the edges....The mind latches onto these tunnel images and accepts them as a new actuality."
To explain this in another way, it is like tinnitus for the eye. Tinnitus is a symptom of deafness due to the failure of the auditory nerve. The part of the brain that deals with hearing is inhibited because of the lack of input, and starts randomly firing, creating a ringing sensation, much like I get when the fluid in my ears (due to Otitis Media with Effusion) packs so tightly against the eardrum that I don't hear anything. That is why I classify myself as Hard of Hearing (HOH).
As for the other parts, as the mind slips into unconsciousness, it starts doing the same thing it does during the REM stage, without the movements of the eyes. The brain waves shorten and the mind starts recalling things that would be familiar. You might notice a trend where people of different cultures will have different NDE's. A deaf person might have all communication in ASL. Indians often meet a messenger who looks at a list and sees they aren;t ready for the afterlife yet.
Now to another question I implied earlier: Do any near-death survivors go to hell?
So much has been written by New Age writers about near-death and death experiences resulting in a beautiful afterlife that we sometimes forget that not all people who supposedly have those experiences go to a place of comfort and beauty.
A book about such experiences has been written by Maurice S. Rawlings, M.D. In 1997, Dr Rawlings described one of his rescuscitated patients this way:
"He had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling--he looked as if his hair was standing on end. 'Don't stop. Don't let me go back to hell!' he pleaded desperately."
The hell his patients describe is often desolate, windy, arid, superheated, empty, "full of eyes," and is filled with a sound of moaning. The ground is rocky or gritty and the air dark or sulfurous. Shadowy figures may lurk in the background, but they seem oblivious to the newcomer. The overwhelming feeling is one of despair and isolation.
Others who claim to have gone to hell as part of a NDE recall:
Cramped quarters or a feeling of being stifled
Being totally alone
A feeling of being trapped
A heavy "pressurized" feeling of being crushed
Dry, dehydrating heat and scorching
Moving through a vacuum
Themselves shrieking or crying in great fear
No report from those who have been "to hell and back" report seeing Satan there. If they really were there, it is because Satan is not there yet according to Revelations 20:10.
I hope you guys have fun with this.