Into the light: The near death experience

Hieronymus Bosch: Ascent of the Blessed (detail of panel), c. 1500, Collection of the Doge’s Palace, Venice (© Wikimedia, public domain)

What happens to a person who has an out of body experience? People who have had a near death experience often describe floating above the operating table, for example, or moving towards a brilliant light at the end of a tunnel. Yet they return to consciousness after doctors have proclaimed them brain dead. So is there a mind without a brain? Is the brain truly the seat of consciousness? Or could it be that the universe itself is conscious? Is there a rational scientific explanation for this intriguing phenomenon?

Producer: Chris Chambers

Broadcast: February 23, 2003