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Old 18th century text speaks of near death experience

In cases of near death experiences, patients say they left their bodies.
In cases of near death experiences, patients say they left their bodies.
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Dr. Phillipe Charlier did not expect to find information on a patient who had a near death experience when he purchased an old medical test in a local antique shop.

In the book entitled Kingdom of the Blessed by French military physician Pierre-Jean du Monchaux dated from 1740, he noted that his patient experienced the “vivid sensations associated with NDEs.”

Dr. du Monchaux wrote that the patient, who had a serious fever, fell unconscious and saw “a pure bright white light” that he believed was heaven. The patient noted that he knew he was dead but felt “positive emotions.” Dr. Charlier noted that the man recalled the sensation of losing “all external sensations” and believed the light meant he was in heaven – “the Kingdom of the Blessed.”

“He remembered this sensation very well, and affirmed that never of all his life had he had a nicer moment,” Dr. Charlier wrote. “Other individuals of various ages and sexes reported a very similar sensation in the same circumstances.”

At the time, the doctor believed an interruption of blood flowing to the brain was the cause of the patient’s experience. He noted that when the blood rushes back to the brain, it “creates these vivid and strong sensations.”

The typical signs of an NDE often include the sensation of leaving the body, finding one’s self moving in a tunnel, communicating with a light, seeing what appears to be heaven, meeting deceased relatives and going through a life review. Today it is believed that all of these types of experiences are caused by a decrease in oxygen to the brain.

A study at Southampton University involving 63 heart attack patients found that this was not true. The patients had all been deemed “clinically dead with no pulse, no respiration and fixed dilated pupils.” Researchers found that those who claimed to have NDEs actually had “higher oxygen levels than those who hadn’t.”


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