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February 1977

Afterthoughts on Afterlife

Arch Intern Med. 1977;137(2):150. doi:10.1001/archinte.1977.03630140006004

Reporting on experiences described i by patients who had been resuscitated after cardiac arrest, Burch et al1 wrote as follows:

At the onset of cardiac arrest most patients experience a pleasant feeling as though they were entering a peaceful sleep. There was no fear or anxiety. They became unconscious and were completely unaware of the activities around them. If resuscitative procedures had not been undertaken, all would have ended in an "eternal sleep" after the initial pleasant beginning. However, with resuscitation before serious cerebral damage had occurred, consciousness was regained after variable periods of time. At this time many patients felt pleasant again and were pleased to know they were still alive.

That was 1968. It should have been obvious even then that the report was too true to be good. It lacked excitement. More vividly imaginative accounts were bound to come.

And come they did—articles, books, televised testimonials