I've always suspected that out-of-body experiences were real. So many people have given sworn statements about how they rose above their body in the operating theatre and watched the doctors and nurses working on them below. Now the largest medical study ever on the subject has proved that it's true.
Scientists have always believed that the brain shuts down within 20 to 30 seconds after the heart stops beating and being aware of anything after that happens was impossible.
But not anymore. A new study has proved that patients can experience real events for up to three minutes after the heart has stopped beating and they can recall those events accurately when brought back to life.
Leader of the team based in the UK, Dr Sam Parnia, said he had always believed that near death experiences related by patients were strictly hallucinatory. That was until one man gave an accurate account of what happened after he died on the table. He said he could see the doctors and nurses working on him from the corner of the room.
"We know the brain can't function when the heart stops beating" Dr Parnia said. "But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes."
"The man described everything that happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals, so we could time how long the experience lasted. He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him, actually happened."
Dr Parnia's study involved 2,060 patients from 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria and has been published in the journal Resuscitation.
Now they have to sort out what the "white light at the end of the tunnel" is all about.